CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Noteworthy, schedule

WHO'S HOT * The Herdez Competition duo of Mario Dominguez ( ...

WHO'S HOT

* The Herdez Competition duo of Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Roberto Moreno (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) kept their noses clean all day in the Grand Prix Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com in Miami and rewrote the team record books as they earned the first-ever 1-2 sweep in the long history of the Herdez squad. Dominguez and Moreno added that mark to the team annals with a strong run on the 1.15-mile Miami street course, winning Round 16 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. It was Dominguez' second career Champ Car win after taking the checkered flags in Australia a season ago, while the Brazilian veteran would complete the sweep by coming home in second, earning his best finish of the year and his first podium since 2001.

* Former Formula 1 pilot turned Champ Car rookie Mika Salo (#27 PK Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) came back from losing a lap on his first fuel stint and emerged from a couple of tight squeezes to claim the third spot in Miami after starting 15th. Salo earned a podium finish in just his second Champ Car start, making him the first driver since Nigel Mansell in 1993 to earn a podium finish in one of his first two series starts. The run also gave the first-year PK Racing squad it's first-ever podium, and marked its highest finish of the 2003 campaign.

* American Jimmy Vasser (#12 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) of American Spirit Team Johansson matched a season-best finish of fourth in downtown Miami and claimed the highest finish of the day for a Reynard pilot. The 1996 CART champion and his first-year squad head to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez looking to build on the permanent road course experience it gained from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when both ASTJ machines were exceptional, placing American rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay (#31 American Spirit Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) on the podium for the first time.

* Owner/driver Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) started from pole, led 88 laps and turned the fastest lap in Miami before contact from behind courtesy of Bruno Junqueira (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). The Newman/Haas Racing driver sent Fernandez one lap down and onto an eighth-place finish. The wildly popular Mexican driver returns to his native country eighth in points with 99. With a ninth-place result in Miami, Junqueira comes to Mexico City just 13 markers behind points leader Paul Tracy (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing with just three races remaining in the championship.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

* Junqueira took the pole at last year's Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante Presented by Banamex/Visa in Mexico City with a time of 1:25.941 (116.703 mph) on the revitalized 2.786-mile road course at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which last played host to CART in 1981. Junqueira would go on to finish third in the final race of 2002 behind racewinner Kenny Brack and CART champion Cristiano da Matta.

* Canadian Patrick Carpentier (#32 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing moved up to finish fourth in Mexico City last year after gridding seventh. The Montreal native comes to Mexico fifth in the championship with 136 points on the strength of his win in Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Round 7 earlier this season.

NOTEWORTHY

* Herdez Competition will become the first team in Champ Car history this weekend to field two Mexican drivers when rookie Roberto Gonzalez (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will be entered in Mexico City. Gonzalez will take the reins of the #4 entry usually driven by veteran Roberto Moreno, who will return to the series October 26th for the Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise, Australia. Gonzalez' car will also highlight the first involvement of Nextel Communications, a leading provider of fully integrated wireless communication services, with Herdez Competition's Champ Car team following a very successful season for the Herdez-Nextel team in the Mexican Copa Corona Series.

* Brazilian veteran Gualter Salles returns to the cockpit of the #19 Dale Coyne Racing machine in Mexico City after fellow countryman Alex Sperafico served as a replacement driver while Salles fulfilled a prior driving commitment for the Miami event.

* Sun-Telcel-Motorola, leaders in Mexico's technology industry, have formed a new Champ Car team which will be piloted this weekend by Mexican driver Luis Diaz (#25 Sun/Telcel/Motorola Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone). Diaz returns to Champ Cars in the Walker Racing prepared machine after making his debut in the series last season with Fernandez Racing in Mexico City.

* Mexico will be well represented this weekend in the nation's capital with no less than six of the 20 Champ Car drivers calling Mexico home. Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Team Rahal, Mario Dominguez, Walker Racing's Rodolfo Lavin (#5 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone), Roberto Gonzalez and Luis Diaz will all be battling for the honor of top finishing Mexican in front of a large contingent of festive race fans.

BY THE NUMBERS

* The massive raceday crowd of 174,866 at Mexico City last year was an all-time CART record, surpassing the previous mark of 116,000 set in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2001. Complementing the raceday turnout was a total of 351,972 spectators for the weekend, which also stacked up to be a all-time CART record, surpassing the 316,000 that moved through the turnstiles that same weekend in Monterrey 2001.

WHAT: Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante Presented by Banamex/Visa
WHERE: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico
WHEN: Friday -- Sunday, October 10-12

SUPPORT EVENTS: Clio Cup Mexico, Shifter karts, Formula Renault 2000 de America

CART SCHEDULE (All times local):

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10
Champ Car practice, 9:30 -- 10:20 a.m.
Champ Car practice, 11:10 a.m. -- 12:00 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 2:30 -- 3:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11
Champ Car practice, 10:00 -- 11:15 a.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 1:45 -- 2:45 p.m.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12
Champ Car warmup, 11:15 -- 11:45 a.m.
Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante Presented by Banamex/Visa, 3:00 p.m., 73 laps.

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE:
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12
Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante Presented by Banamex/Visa, 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, SPEED Channel (Live)

TRACK LAYOUT: 2.786-mile road course
RACE LENGTH: 73 laps, 203.378 miles

RACE ROUND: 17 of 19 in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

NEXT EVENT: Oct. 26, Lexmark Indy 300, Surfers Paradise, Australia.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gualter Salles , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Mika Salo , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Kenny Brack , Nigel Mansell , Luis Diaz , Mario Dominguez , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Rodolfo Lavin , Roberto Gonzalez , Dale Coyne , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain
Teams Dale Coyne Racing