CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Rocketsports Racing preview

Rocketsports Ready to End the Season on a High Note with Dominguez and Pizzonia EAST LANSING, Michigan (November 7, 2006) -- Despite being a challenging year for the Rocketsports Racing team, the season finale in Mexico City gives the team one...

Rocketsports Ready to End the Season on a High Note with Dominguez and Pizzonia

EAST LANSING, Michigan (November 7, 2006) -- Despite being a challenging year for the Rocketsports Racing team, the season finale in Mexico City gives the team one last opportunity to end 2006 on a good note and demonstrate their ability to be a top competitor as they return south of the border with famed-Mexican driver Mario Dominguez and Former-Formula One driver Antonio Pizzonia.

This will be the fourth time that the Rocketsports team will head to Mexico City to compete in a Champ Car event. Last year saw 2005 Rookie-of-the-Year, Timo Glock, make a good run for the team when he started 12th on the grid and recorded the team's best finish of fifth at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.

Pizzonia will be returning to the Champ Car paddock this weekend with Rocketsports Racing as he will continue to pilot the #18 Lexington Energy Services/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for the Gran Premio Telmex Presentado Por Banamex. This will be the first time that Pizzonia races in Mexico City with a Champ Car, and when he takes the green flag on Sunday, race day, he will be making his fourth Champ Car start.

In 2004, A.J. Allmendinger finished third as a rookie, while in 2003 Sebastien Bourdais finished second during his rookie campaign. Pizzonia's odds as a rookie are not bad in terms of finishing in the top five, especially being with a team that had a rookie finish there last year. However, his odds of earning the pole and/or winning the race are pretty high, as no Champ Car driver has earned either honor during their rookie season. The Brazilian has a chance to change those stats and become the first rookie to really excel at the Mexico City venue after six Champ Car events have been held against those odds.

After making his Champ Car debut in Long Beach this season behind the wheel of the #8 Rocketsports car, Pizzonia managed a tenth place finish after starting 11th. The Brazilian made his second Champ Car start in Montreal driving the #18 entry for Rocketsports Racing with the team, starting 13th and finishing 11th after struggling throughout the race with a radio failure. His third start came in Australia behind the wheel of the #18 car with new sponsor Vancouver-based Lexington Energy Services. He provisionally qualified 13th on Friday, and after running fifth quickest in the morning practice session on Saturday, it was hopeful that he would better his grid position. Brake issues and contact ultimately affected a better spot in the starting lineup; therefore Pizzonia had to settle for the 13th spot on the grid. From there, he made his way to the top leading the race for 8 laps, but finished 10th when a gamble taken did not pay off. His talent and precision continues to showcase and this weekend only promises more good things to come from the 26-year-old driver.

Dominguez made his debut in Mexico City back in 2002. A ninth place start seemed promising, but a mechanical failure would deny the Mexican of a good result for his family, friends, fans and sponsors. However, that was a very motivating race for the Champ Car driver, who returned in 2003, and after starting 11th, he put the Mexican flag on the podium with a third place result. The city went crazy as one of their own, literally as Dominguez was born and currently resides in Mexico City, finished in the top three. His dream is to win, and he continues to follow his dream despite finishes of 8th and 12th in 2004 and 2005 respectively. 2006 may just be the year he finishes on top, at home, for everyone that has supported him throughout his career in the great country of Mexico, and most recently his sponsors Pemex, GICSA, Del Valle.

Dominguez is one of only two Mexican drivers that will be competing this weekend, as he and Monterrey-native David Martinez will be in the limelight due to their nationality. The pressure will be on Dominguez to be the first Mexican to win on home soil. He will also have all eyes on him to earn the pole position, as there has not been a Mexican pacing the field to the green flag since Adrian Fernandez earned the pole in Monterrey, Mexico back in 2002.

Ironically, in 2003 Dominguez earned his third place finish with Engineer Brian Ma. The two have been reunited this year when Dominguez joined Rocketsports for the final three races of the 2006 season. After only two races this season together, the duo found their way to the podium with a second place finish in the last event. After starting tenth, the #8 Pemex/GICSA/Del Valle car was recongized as the Most Improved Car of the race. Only time will tell what these two, along with a great Rocketsports crew, can do in Mexico City.

With the unfortuate situation of Paul Tracy having to be withdrawn from the race this weekend after making 136 consecutive Champ Car starts, Dominguez will have the longest current consecutive starts streak with 77 in Champ Car. Dominguez currently sits sixth in the Championship standings with a total of 198 points. It is a close fight between fourth through tenth, so anything could happen and there is still a lot of excitement about to happen during this final race of the season.

The Champ Car World Series finale will be held in Mexico City, Mexico this weekend, November 10-12. Provisional qualifying will take place on Friday afternoon, with final qualifying being held on Saturday afternoon. There will be a Qualifying Show on SPEED Channel at 11:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 11. The final race of the season will take the green flag Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. local time. The race can be seen live on SPEED Channel with coverage beginning at 3:00 p.m. EST. To follow Rocketsports Racing all weekend, check out the team's website at www.rocketsportsracing.com or log onto www.champcar.ws and sign up for Race Director.

Quotes Mario Dominguez #8 Pemex/GICSA/Del Valle/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone "I am very excited to be racing in my hometown. The Mexico City race is always very special for me and it is great all the support that I get from the fans. There have been a lot of promotions going on that I have been involved with. There is lots of interest in the media, which is really good because it hasn't been this big in the last three years. So there is a new strength here and that is so good for Champ Car. It is an amazing feeling to experience all the excitement of the fans, which makes me responsible for them and my sponsors in terms of doing well at this event. I will give it my best effort. Our podium finish in Australia gave the team and me the confidence we need going into this race. I would like to see us win here, if not, finish on the podium once again. We have the momentum going; I am feeling very comfortable and confident that we can have a good result together to finish this season on a good note. I just hope that I can have a good weekend for Pemex, GICSA, Del Valle, and my personal sponsors Telmex and Bridgestone, not to mention for all the great people in Mexico City!"

Antonio Pizzonia #18 Lexington Energy Services/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone "Well this is another track that I will have to learn, but I am excited to be climbing back into the #18 Lexington Energy Services/Rocketsports car and ready for the challenge. I am happy and very thankful for another opportunity to run with Paul Gentilozzi's Rocketsports team. This will be my fourth Champ Car start, so I am looking forward to it and taking what I have learned in my first races and continuing to improve. I had a good time working with Mario Dominguez in Australia, and I look forward to this weekend and know that he will be a big help to me since he really knows this course. I just hope that we can have a consistent run throughout the weekend, a good qualifying position and hopefully have a good race so that the team can finish the season properly, and of course, a good result for our sponsor Lexington Energy Services."

-credit: rocketsports racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Antonio Pizzonia , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , David Martinez , Timo Glock