CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Pre-event notes, schedule

WHOS HOT On an unpredictable day in Australia Nelson Philippe ( ...

WHOS HOT

On an unpredictable day in Australia Nelson Philippe (#4 CTE Racing-HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) became the youngest driver to win a race. With his victory Philippe moved up to fourth in the points standings and recorded his eighth top-ten finish this season. Last year Philippe posted his best start and finish at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez when he began the day in the eighth position and finished seventh.

In his second start with Rocketsports Mario Dominguez (#8 Pemex/GICSA/Del Valle Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) posted his best finish this season in Surfers Paradise. In the final laps of the race the Mexican was able to pull within 0.728 seconds of Philippe, but had to settle for the second position. Going into his hometown race Dominguez has one podium finish to his credit.

In Australia Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) brought the crowd to its feet as he recorded a podium finish for his Team Australia. His third place finish moved him into the top ten in the point standings heading into the season finale. The Canadian posted his best Mexico City finish a year ago when he placed eighth.

Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) captured his first pole position of his Champ Car career two weeks ago in Surfers Paradise. His race day started with a flourish as he led the first thirteen laps of the race, before contact took him out of contention. Currently the Aussie leads the rookie-of-the-year by 15 points over Dan Clarke (#14 CTE Racing-HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). Last year Power made his second Champ Car start at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, recording a top ten finish.

In Surfers Paradise Charles Zwolsman (#34 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) brought his car home a career best seventh and recorded his seventh consecutive top-ten run, which currently is the most by a rookie contender this season. In last year's race in Mexico City the 2005 Atlantic Champion made his first Champ Car start.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) wrapped the 2005 season up in style last year by winning from the pole position at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. During the race the Brit had to fight off advances from his teammate A.J. Allmendinger, but still was able to lead 65 of the 70 laps ran. In just two starts in Mexico City Wilson has yet to start or finish outside of the top four.

Even though Bruno Junqueira (#2 Hole in the Wall Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has yet to win at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, he still has an impressive record at the course. In three starts the Brazilian has one pole position, has yet to qualify worse than third, and has two podium finishes.

In 2004 Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonalds Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) captured his first Champ Car championship by winning from the pole position in Mexico City. Out of three starts at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez the "Flying Frenchman" has yet to qualify lower than fourth and has two podium finishes to his credit.

Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) became the second driver to cinch a title in Mexico City when he won in 2003 from the pole position. During the race Tracy led 64 laps and crossed the finish line 1.782 seconds in front of Sebastien Bourdais. Last season Tracy went from the front two the back on two separate occasions and still managed to come back through the field to finish third. The Canadian has yet to qualify outside of the top eight and has two podium finishes on the Mexico City road course.

NOTEWORTHY

Newman/Haas Racing's Sebastien Bourdais became the first driver since Ted Horn (1946-48) to win three consecutive Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford championships with his eighth place finish in Surfers Paradise, Australia.

Four different rookies led laps during the event in Surfers Paradise two weeks ago, marking the first time that four rookies led in a single event since 1983. The last time it happened was at Michigan International Speedway in 1983 when John Paul Jr., Teo Fabi, Al Unser Jr. and Don Whittington led laps.

In 1980 when Champ Car traveled to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, it became the first Champ Car sanctioned race to be held in Mexico.

In the first race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez three drivers from Mexico competed in the event (Daniel Muniz, Juan Carlos Bolanos and Michel Jourdain). Since then there has been at least two drivers that call Mexico home in the field each year. Other Mexican drivers that have competed in Champ Car in Mexico city include: Josele Garza (1981), Michel Jourdain (1981), Michel Jourdain Jr. (2002-2004), Mario Dominguez (2002-2005), Luis Diaz (2002-2003), Adrian Fernandez (2003), Roberto Gonzalez (2003 and 2004), Rodolfo Lavin (2003-2005), and Homero Richards (2005).

The best finish for a driver from Mexico in a Champ Car race in Mexico City was Mario Dominguez in 2003 when he finished in the third position.

Nelson Philippe becomes the youngest driver ever to win a Champ Car race, by winning in Surfers Paradise at the age of 20 years, two months and 29 days, eclipsing the mark previously held by Scott Dixon by more than six months.

With Justin Wilson missing the event in Australia, Will Power is the new leader in the Bridgestone Passion For Excellence Award with one race to go. Power would be the first person other than Sebastien Bourdais to win the award in this, the fourth year that the honor has been given.

DID YOU KNOW

Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico D.F. or simply Mexico is the capital city of the nation of Mexico. The surrounding city "Distrito Federal" also commonly referred to as the "D.F." It is one of the largest cities in the world and is classified as a megalopolis as it encompasses the original Mexico City. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is named for the famous Mexican brothers Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez and was modeled after Italy's Formula One Monza track. It was built in a park in 1962, after the success of Ricardo Rodriguez in Formula one motivated the Mexico City authorities to invest in the construction the racing circuit. The track got its name shortly after it opened when Ricardo Rodriguez tragically lost his life here in a non-title event (Ricardo's brother Pedro would also lose his life behind the wheel two years later). The circuit hosted its first Formula One Mexican Grand Prix one year later and remained part of the F1 calendar through 1970, when the track suffered serious crowd control problems and after the 1970 event the FIA refused to give the Mexicans a new World Championship date because they were unable to guarantee that the crowd would not invade the track. Champ Car made its first appearance on the circuit in 1980 and 1981, but did not return again until 2002. After the last F1 Mexican Grand Prix in 1992, a baseball stadium was built on part of the circuit, so when Champ Car series began coming to the track in 2002, it was partially bypassed by a series of sharp turns entering and exiting the baseball field and re-entering the track. So in essence the outfield is home on race weekends to guys who make their living driving twice as fast as a Nolan Ryan fastball.

BY THE NUMBERS

1962 -- The year the first race was ran at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. 63 -- In 2004 Sebastien Bourdais led all 63 laps of the Mexico City race to capture his first championship title. 12 -- The least number of laps a winner in Mexico City has led (Kenny Brack, 2002). 16 -- The number of turns on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez course. 6 -- The furthest back any driver has started and won the Grand Prix of Mexico City (Kenny Brack, 2002 and Rick Mears, 1981). 3 -- In three out of six races the series champion has gone on to win the race. 4 -- The most times a yellow flag has flown during a Grand Prix in Mexico City. 3 -- Three drivers that call Mexico home have led laps during a Champ Car race in Mexico City (Michel Jourdain Jr., 2002; Adrian Fernandez, 2003; and Rodolfo Lavin 2005).

FAST FACTS

WHAT: Gran Premio Telmex Presentado Por Banamex

WHERE: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico

WHEN: Friday--Sunday, November 10-12

SUPPORT EVENTS: Clio Cup, Vintage Championship

CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local):

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10 -- 10:15 - 11:30 a.m., Champ Car practice; 2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11 - 10:30--11:30 a.m., Champ Car practice; 2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12 - 10:00 - 10:30 a.m., Champ Car warmup; 2:00 p.m. GRAN PREMIO TELMEX PRESENTADO POR BANAMEX

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE (Eastern Time): SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11 - Mexico City qualifying, SPEED, 10:30 p.m.; SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12 - Gran Premio Telmex Presentado Por Banamex, SPEED, 3:00 p.m. (Live)

2005 CHAMPION: Justin Wilson
2005 POLESITTER: Justin Wilson

TRACK LAYOUT: 2.786-mile road course (estimated due to the reconfiguration of the track)
RACE LENGTH: 66 laps (184.80 miles)

TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap) -- 2004, Sebastien Bourdais, 1:25.919 seconds (116.733 mph). Race -- 2004, Sebastien Bourdais, 1:39:02.662 (106.327 mph) based on 63 laps (175.518 miles)

RACE ROUND: 14 of 14 in the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

2006 CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES POINTS LEADERS: 1, Sebastien Bourdais, Newman/Haas Racing, 353; 2, A.J. Allmendinger, 285; 3, Justin Wilson, RuSPORT, 269; 4, Nelson Philippe, CTE Racing - HVM, 214; 5, Paul Tracy, Forsythe Championship Racing, 209.

INSTANT REPLAY: RuSPORT dominated the 2005 Champ Car season finale in Mexico City with Justin Wilson leading 65 of the day's 70 laps from the pole, pacing a 1-2 team sweep as then-teammate A.J. Allmendinger came home in the second spot. The only lack of drama was at the front however as a number of incidents energized the large crowd throughout the event. Paul Tracy went from the top three to the rear of the field on two separate occasions during the race and still fought his way back for a third-place finish. He fell out of third place on the first lap due to a punctured tire, then dropped back again after coming all the way back, owing to a blocking penalty while trying to hold off Rodolfo Lavin and Allmendinger for the lead. Having clinched the season championship in the previous race, Sebastien Bourdais had his only DNF of the year, breaking a year-long streak that had seen him complete every lap of competition up to that point, when he and Cristiano da Matta brought out the yellow flag after contact with 10 laps to go. Wilson sprinted away on the restart and eased to the win, while Tracy passed Oriol Servia and rookie points leader Timo Glock to snare third. Glock raised the ire of the massive throng a few laps earlier when he had contact with local favorite Mario Dominguez as Dominguez was battling for a podium spot. Glock held on for a top-five finish while Dominguez was shuttled back to 12th after the contact.

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Al Unser Jr. , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Oriol Servia , Kenny Brack , Ricardo Rodríguez , Luis Diaz , Mario Dominguez , Rick Mears , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Rodolfo Lavin , Nelson Philippe , Charles Zwolsman , Timo Glock , Will Power , John Paul , Teo Fabi , Homero Richards , Josele Garza , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain
Teams Conquest Racing