CHAMPCAR/CART: Herdez Competition Sneak Preview Saturday notes

Herdez Competition Sneak Preview Saturday Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca 2.238-mile permanent road course AM Time: 1:12.684 seconds Speed: 110.847 mph Position: 17th PM Time: 1:11.223 seconds Speed: 113.121 mph Position: 20th MONTEREY, Cal.

Herdez Competition Sneak Preview Saturday
Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca 2.238-mile permanent road course
AM Time: 1:12.684 seconds Speed: 110.847 mph Position: 17th
PM Time: 1:11.223 seconds Speed: 113.121 mph Position: 20th

MONTEREY, Cal. (February 9, 2002) - The 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season kicked off today with the first full day of on-track testing for the entire field of competitors at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. CART's Sneak Preview event officially got under way on Thursday and Friday with a full slate of media events scheduled for Herdez Competition rookie driver, Mario Domínguez. Over the course of the two days, Domínguez completed over 25 one-on-one interviews with members of the national and international television, print, and internet media. As well, he took part in a press conference and a "gauntlet"-style photo shoot where he progressed from photographer to photographer for full one-and-a-half-hours.

"The media days were tiring but a lot of fun for me", said Domínguez today. "It goes with the territory. It is very hard work, in a different way from driving, but I am enjoying every aspect of my new job! It is very flattering really, because these journalists are highly regarded in their field and now they want to talk to me!"

While today's primary business was taking place on track during two separate two-and-a-half hour testing sessions, the drivers also greeted fans and signed autographs over the lunch hour. Mario piloted his Ford-Cosworth-powered Lola for 41 laps around the 2.238-mile circuit in the morning and added another 55 laps to his total in the afternoon. His best lap time of the day was one minute, 11.223 seconds (113.121 mph average), placing him 20th overall.

"It's definitely different out there with traffic than without", continued Domínguez. "We weren't really out there trying to set the fastest time but rather to work on different changes we could make to the car and getting comfortable. I had quite a bit of understeer all day but I expect we'll get a better balance on the car for tomorrow."

Managing Director Keith Wiggins reiterated the focus of the day. "I'd say it was a productive day overall. We had a little problem with the engine this morning that put us a little us a little off of our plan. You will never get as much done during a day like this as you would on your own - but that's part of the process. We evaluated a few things and we'll move forward tomorrow!"

Testing continues Sunday with the team expected on track again for extended morning and afternoon sessions.

-hc/pp-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Dominguez