CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Herdez Competition race report

Cleveland's "Roar by the Shore" took on a new look in 2003 as the Champ Car World Series took to the converted Burke Lakefront Airport track under the illumination of 21 Musco lighting towers. While reduced nighttime temperatures ...

Cleveland's "Roar by the Shore" took on a new look in 2003 as the Champ Car World Series took to the converted Burke Lakefront Airport track under the illumination of 21 Musco lighting towers. While reduced nighttime temperatures helped, this race is still a huge challenge to the drivers physically due to the heat and humidity. Polesitter Sebastien Bourdais lost the drag-race to turn one to fellow front row starter Paul Tracy who went on to lead the first 67 laps. Jimmy Vasser took over at that point though he was out of pitstop sequence.

When Vasser pitted on lap 82, Bourdais took the lead which he did not relinquish. The battle was far from over though, as Tracy and Bourdais stayed in close contact for all of the final 33 laps.

A late race yellow to retrieve Vasser's stalled car from turn one made for an exciting last lap as all of the remaining competitors were bunched up and made a dash for the finish line; rookie points leader Bourdais held on to beat series leader Tracy across the line by 2.241 seconds.

Roberto Moreno, driver of the number four Herdez Competition entry was taken out on lap 16 by contact with Jimmy Vasser, irreparably damaging the rear suspension on his Lola. Teammate Mario Dominguez fought valiantly the entire race distance and, assisted by swift service from his crew, worked his way from a starting position of eighth to finish in fifth, retaining his eighth place position in the championship.

Mario Dominguez - Driver, Car 55

"I'm very pleased with tonight's result. I took it really easy going into turn one on the first lap. You know this team hasn't made it past the first lap since back in 1998 so my focus was just to get through it and still be running, no matter what position I was in. I did lose a couple of positions but I was happy I made it through and I knew I had a good enough car to be able to make it up. The crew gave me tremendous pit stops and I had a very good duel with Jourdain out there. The car got better throughout the race and I have to say that my engineering team did a great job setting up the car for these conditions. On the last lap, Servia passed me on the restart but I was able to get him back in the next corner. I have to give him credit - he gave me room to get through and we raced hard and clean. It was a very tough race physically and mentally so I'm very pleased with our result."

Warm up was interrupted by a 15-minute red-flag stoppage to repair a tire wall. During the remainder of the session, Dominguez completed only "out" and "in" laps to scrub tires and did not register a complete lap time.

Roberto Moreno - Driver, Car 4

"I have no idea what happened because I haven't seen the replay yet. When I went by the Start/Finish line, I thought Jimmy (Vasser) was too far back to try to pass me in Turn 1. I was on my own line, minding my own business and then next thing I know, boom, I get hit in the right rear. I've been sick all week and the CART Medical team did a great job in helping be well enough to start the race tonight. And my team gave me a great car to drive. We had an awesome start - I went down the very tight inside line on turn one and got a clean run through, picking up three spots on the first lap. I'm really sorry for the team because they put in a great effort for me - I wish I had been able to bring home a result for them."

-hc-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Roberto Moreno , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais