INDIANAPOLIS (May 14, 2003) -- For much of CART's history, the presence of Mexican drivers in the Champ Car World Series was treated as a pleasant diversion by most fans, while the rabid racing fans south of the border followed their every move...
INDIANAPOLIS (May 14, 2003) -- For much of CART's history, the presence of Mexican drivers in the Champ Car World Series was treated as a pleasant diversion by most fans, while the rabid racing fans south of the border followed their every move with rapt attention.
Josele Garza, Hector Rebaque, Michel and Bernard Jourdain sparked Mexican interest in the early days of the series, building enough recognition to spark one-off runs by the likes of Juan Carlos Bolanos and Daniel Muniz, but successes had been few and far between for Los Mexicanos despite Rebaque's Road America win in 1982 until Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone) burst onto the scene in 1993.
But the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford has seen the dawn of a whole new day for Mexican racing fans as they are enjoying unprecedented success for their native sons. Fernandez, Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Rodolfo Lavin (#5 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Reynard Bridgestone) have combined to produce strong results through the year's first five races, and took over the lead in the prized Nations Cup standings with a runner-up finish by Dominguez in last week's German 500. Mexico now leads Canada 80-79 after five races as both countries look to break the four-year stranglehold that Brazilian drivers have held on the award.
There has been a Mexican driver on the podium in each of the season's first five events, a streak that is unprecedented in the 25-year CART era, and the quartet has taken the Nations Cup lead for the first time since Fernandez gave the country a short-lived 2-0 lead by leading qualifying last season in Monterrey, Mexico.
Dominguez and Jourdain have already led more laps this season than they had in their entire Champ Car careers to date, Dominguez pacing 47 laps in EuroSpeedway with Jourdain leading 48 laps at Long Beach. Fernandez earned his first podium since last year's race at Milwaukee with a second-place Long Beach effort while Lavin broke out last weekend at EuroSpeedway to score his first championship points.