CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America: Rocketsports Racing race report

DESPITE BETTER WEATHER ROCKETSPORTS HAS A GLOOMY RACE DAY AT ROAD AMERICA ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin (September 24, 2006) -- The clouds in the sky may have cleared, but a dark cloud remained over the Rocketsports Racing pits as Tonis Kasemets ...

DESPITE BETTER WEATHER ROCKETSPORTS HAS A GLOOMY RACE DAY AT ROAD AMERICA

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin (September 24, 2006) -- The clouds in the sky may have cleared, but a dark cloud remained over the Rocketsports Racing pits as Tonis Kasemets suffered a mechanical failure and Mario Dominguez struggled to find good balance during today's Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America.

Kasemets, who started 14th, seemed to be off to a good start this afternoon taking advantage of an early yellow to pit for fuel on Lap 3. However, that optimism soon faded when he started to have mechanical issues a few laps later. The Estonian driver completed 14 laps before climbing out of the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone after a wastegate clamp failed, which burned a part of the electronics that controls the shift without lift program and caused terminal damage to the gearbox.

Making his fifth Champ Car start with Rocketsports, Kasemets finished this afternoon's race in the 17th spot. He posted his fastest race time of 1:48.973 (133.729 mph) on his tenth lap around the 4.048-mile permanent road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

His teammate, Dominguez, did not have much luck either. The Mexican made his 76th Champ Car start this afternoon, his first with the Rocketsports team, but struggled to find balance on the #8 Pemex/GICSA/Del Valle Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. The team and driver decided to make a gamble on Lap 34 coming in for fuel and tires with the hopes of making it to the end of the 51-lap race, but that did not pay out in terms of obtaining a higher position on the timing and scoring chart because the yellow they needed did not come in the way they had hoped.

Despite several on-track incidents and a red flag that lasted for 42 minutes due a lot of debris on the track and a hole in the fence after a crash involving Katherine Legge (who walked away from the incident), Dominguez was able to stay fairly clean and finish the race in the 12th spot. He recorded his best race time of 1:47.535 (135.517 mph) on Lap 13 and earns nine championship points today. Dominguez has 169 points in the Championship standings and currently sits 9th overall.

The team will have a couple of weeks off, but will be rather busy packing the cars and race equipment in preparation for Round 13 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford in Surfers Paradise, Australia, October 20-22. That event will be the second to last race of the season, with the season finale being held in Mexico City, the home and current residence of Dominguez, November 10-12.

Quotes

#8 Mario Dominguez Pemex/GICSA/Del Valle Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone

"Our first race together with Rocketsports did not go as well as we had hoped. I was struggling throughout the race to find the proper balance on the #8 Pemex/GICSA/Del Valle car, but it just never came together and I never got faster. We took a gamble on a pit stop, but that did not work out either. I would like to thank everyone at Rocketsports for making this first race for me with the team a good one. They all worked very hard and did a good job. Hopefully we can have a better race in Australia together and for Pemex, GICSA, Del Valle and my personal sponsors Telmex and Bridgestone."

#18 Tonis Kasemets Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone

"My engineer, John Gentilozzi, did a great job for me this weekend on the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports car. I had a car that was handling very well, so we had a successful weekend. It is just too bad that we had a mechanical failure, which ended our day early and denied us of showing our potential during the race. I would like to thank everyone at Rocketsports and my sponsor Flexovit Abrasives for a good weekend, despite our unfortunate result."

Paul Gentilozzi, Rocketsports Racing Team Owner

"It is a shame that Tonis' day had to come to an end so early. We were trying hard to fix the problem, with the hopes of getting him back out there. At that time, we knew that we would not be contending for any top position, but we were hoping to at least give him some more time this afternoon just driving for the experience. But there was nothing else we could do; the damage was not repairable to allow him to continue running. He did a good job for us this weekend. It was a rough weekend dealing with the changing weather and track conditions, but I think that he did the best he could and it was good to be able to give him some more seat time.

We took a gamble with Mario and we needed a yellow but it came the wrong way. So we were not able to have the result that we were hoping for, not only for the team, but Mario and his sponsors Pemex, GICSA, and Del Valle. This weekend was all about getting him acquainted with the team and the #8 car, so I feel that was accomplished and that all was not lost this weekend. We will head to Australia with the hopes of a better weekend with a solid finish at the end."

-credit: rocketsports racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Gentilozzi , Mario Dominguez , Katherine Legge , Tonis Kasemets
Teams HART