CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Forsythe Racing Friday report

FORSYTHE CHAMPIONSHIP RACING ON THE PACE AT LONG BEACH LONG BEACH, California -- April 8, 2005 -- For Mario Dominguez ( ...


LONG BEACH, California -- April 8, 2005 -- For Mario Dominguez (#7 Indeck Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone) the first day of the season was a unique challenge well met. For Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone) it was a great start to bringing the Vanderbilt Cup back home to the Forsythe team.

Dominguez , who only met his Forsythe crew for the first time on Thursday, said that today was all about getting reacquainted with a 750hp Champ Car. "I've only driven once in the last five months and there is definitely some rust that needs to be polished. The #7 car seemed very comfortable right from the first laps this morning and I was fourth quickest in my very first practice session of the year, so I'm pretty happy with the car but I think there is room for improvement with the driver!"

"I'm getting back in the groove but it's not just a switch that can be turned on and off. I think after a good night's sleep to let the day sink in I'll be a bit more aggressive tomorrow. One thing that seems to be exactly right is the communication with the crew. We had very good engineering discussions today after the on track sessions so that's one thing that seems perfect. I'm very excited about our prospects this weekend and finishing sixth in the first qualifying session is a pretty good result considering how little time we've had together."

For Paul Tracy, who took second spot on the Provisional Grid during today's first round of Qualifying, the top spot was within reach. "We're not first but we're close. We have a good car and I think our chances look good tomorrow. We were running well and decided to put on the red Bridgestones (soft compound option tire) for the last stint, but unfortunately we got held up just a little by Cristiano (da Matta) on our last lap and came up just a bit short. I think we were up about a tenth and a half before we got held up, so we're right on the pace. Tomorrow should be interesting."

Vice President of Operations Neil Micklewright was equally enthused. "It seems we're starting the new season competitive with drivers in second and sixth on the provisional grid. Paul is in fine form coming off a strong testing season, and with Mario only having driven once in the last five months we're all pretty excited that he seems to be right on the pace with an exceptional effort. The whole team is revved up to have had such a strong first day and for sure this weekend is going to be very interesting."

Saturday's Final Qualifying gets underway at 2pm PT (5pm ET, 21:00 UTC).


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez