CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Herdez Competition race report

Herdez Competition 3rd and 10th at Mexico City! Dominguez Scores Fifth Podium of the Season Fresh from their historic 1-2 finish at Miami, the Herdez Competition team traveled south to its spiritual home, Mexico City, for the Gran Premio ...

Herdez Competition 3rd and 10th at Mexico City!
Dominguez Scores Fifth Podium of the Season

Fresh from their historic 1-2 finish at Miami, the Herdez Competition team traveled south to its spiritual home, Mexico City, for the Gran Premio de Mexico. In front of a capacity crowd, estimated at over 211,000, Mexico City native Mario Dominguez earned his fifth podium of the season with third place and while teammate and countryman Roberto Gonzalez also came home in the points in tenth.

Paul Tracy led the field to the start but the cars behind were not properly aligned so the first lap was run under yellow. When the green flag dropped on the second lap, 20 cars screamed down the long front straight in front of the massive and extraordinarily enthusiastic crowd. The action started immediately as Vasser, Jourdain, Fernandez and Manning made contact in turn one. Threading his way through the area, Dominguez found himself in seventh place at the end of that lap. Three laps later, he passed Carpentier to move into sixth where he stayed until the first round of pit stops on lap 19. The #55 team, led by Crew Chief Daryl Fox, made quick work of the first stop and sent Mario from the pits as soon as the tire change was completed, vaulting him past Ryan Hunter-Reay and into fifth.

Dominguez maintained his position all the way through the second pit stop before a strong pass down the inside of Junqueira through the first turn of lap 54 moved him up to fourth going into the final pit stop of the day. Paul Tracy had led the entire race distance to this point before giving up the lead for six laps to an out-of-sequence Fernandez. His pit stop on lap 63 shifted Tracy, Bourdais, and Dominguez into their final positions of 1-2- 3 respectively.

Meanwhile, rookie Roberto Gonzalez had been soldiering through the field, steadily improving his lap times and his track position. On lap 46, he and Darren Manning came together and spun; while Manning waited for the Simple Green Safety Team to bump start his Reynard, Gonzalez quickly found reverse gear and rejoined the fray. A combination of steady on-track work, clean pit stops and late race attrition earned him his best Champ Car finish to date, in the points in tenth place.

Mario Dominguez - Car 55

First I have to thank the people of Mexico for the support they've given me. It's been unbelievable. From the bottom of my heart and I thank them. I really don't have the words to describe the feeling. There's no better way for me to repay them for their support than by bringing them this podium finish on home soil. It was crazy - I've never felt anything like that in my whole life. I could hear the crowd chanting while I was doing donuts on the front straight. It was really the best feeling in my whole life.

I have to hand it to the Herdez Competition team - they gave me the best pit stops imaginable. I really think they are the best team in the paddock right now. Also, Brian Ma and the rest of the engineering team - they just kept working and working until we got the setup just right. They are the heroes today!

Roberto Gonzalez - Car 4

It was an intense day - that is really the best word for it. I'm very happy, very excited and very grateful to both the team and my sponsors Herdez and Nextel. The team supported me all through the weekend - even when we were struggling, they were behind me 100% and that's the best situation a driver can ask for. We started the race well and were in the fight right from the start. I was battling with Rodolfo Lavin - I think we might have even touched - it was just great. But the words of my engineers were in my head - "remain calm, run a smart race and run to the finish". So I was trying to do my best for every lap but to be smart too. It was quite hard; the track was changing quite a lot all during the race. On the third stint, I got a very good set of tires and was able to run lap times even faster than I qualified. It was a great result for the entire team today.

Fast Facts:

1. The festivities in Mexico celebrating Dominguez's podium and Gonzalez's solid finish continued late into the night. In an unprecedented move, city officials closed down a section of Paseo de la Reforma, one of the main streets in downtown Mexico City's Zona Rosa, for Dominguez to perform demonstration laps around "The Angel", the Monumento a la Independencia - one of the city's best known landmarks. A crowd estimated at over 15,000 showed up to support their home-town hero.

2. Today's third place finish moves Dominguez into sole possession of sixth place in the Champ Car World Series drivers championship. He trails Canadian Patrick Carpentier by 21 points.

3. The Gran Premio de Mexico set a new race distance record; the 70-lap race was run in 1 hour, 56 minutes, 51.396 seconds.

4. Dominguez ranks third in overall laps completed so far this year; 1794 of a possible 1875, or 95.7%.

-hc-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Rodolfo Lavin , Roberto Gonzalez