CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Rocketsports Racing preview

ROCKETSPORTS, DOMINGUEZ, PIZZONIA: READY TO ROCK AND ROLL ON THE STREETS OF AUSTRALIA EAST LANSING, Michigan (October 18, 2006) -- After almost a month off of racing, Rocketsports is excited to run Antonio Pizzonia in a newly designed ...

ROCKETSPORTS, DOMINGUEZ, PIZZONIA: READY TO ROCK AND ROLL ON THE STREETS OF AUSTRALIA

EAST LANSING, Michigan (October 18, 2006) -- After almost a month off of racing, Rocketsports is excited to run Antonio Pizzonia in a newly designed #18 car with a new sponsor, Canada's Lexington Energy Services, alongside former Australia-race winner Mario Dominguez, with the hopes of a positive and successful race weekend Down Under.

This trip marks the fourth time that the Rocketsports team will be competing on the streets of Surfers Paradise. The team's best start of fourth came in 2004 with driver Alex Tagliani, who went on to finish in the top-ten with a seventh place result. The team's best finish came last year with 2005 Champ Car Rookie-of-the-Year, Timo Glock, who started 10th and finished sixth.

Rocketsports Racing is happy to announce the return of Pizzonia to the Champ Car paddock this weekend as he will pilot the #18 Lexington Energy Services/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. This will be the first time that Pizzonia races in Australia with a Champ Car, and when he takes the green flag on Sunday, race day, he will be making his third Champ Car start.

Pizzonia turned heads on the Rocketsports Racing team back in March when he tested a Champ Car for the first time. With only a few hours of seat time, he was running laps close to the best times that were posted by other Champ Car teams at that venue, which resulted in a very positive test and left a strong impression with the Rocketsports team owner, Paul Gentilozzi. He signed a one-race deal with the team to make his Champ Car debut in Long Beach, California piloting the #8 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. He qualified 11th (which is the best starting position the team has earned thus far in 2006, matching Pastorelli's Portland start) and by 11 laps into the race, he was running in the sixth spot. He held his own in his first Champ Car event and finished the day in the top-ten, 10th overall. He 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.

Pizzonia's odds for a win are not high because he is a rookie, but that does not mean success is far at hand on this 2.795-mile course. History shows that the first rookie to win the pole position in Australia was Nigel Mansell in 1993. In 2003, Sebastien Bourdais became only the second rookie to win the pole position for the Lexmark Indy 300. Out of the fourteen different drivers who have won the Lexmark Indy 300, three of them were rookies. Nigel Mansell won in 1993, followed by Mario Dominguez in 2002, and Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2003.

Mario Dominguez heads to the Surfers Paradise circuit for the fourth time in his Champ Car career. The five-year veteran's first race on the streets of Australia did not fare well at the start with a 16th position on the grid, but at the end of the day, he found himself on top earning his first Champ Car-career win in 2002. 2003 saw him start 8th and finish 10th. 2004 was another solid year for the Mexican driver who started 5th to finish on the podium in the 3rd spot. Last year's 3rd place start on the grid looked positive for Dominguez to have continued success at this venue, but contact early on would end his day early and see him finish 18th overall.

The Champ Car World Series has raced on the streets of Surfers Paradise for the past fourteen years. Three current Champ Car drivers, including Mario Dominguez, have the chance to change history this season as throughout those fourteen years; there have been fourteen different winners. A win from Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais, or Dominguez would be the first repeat performance in Australia.

This weekend also marks a homecoming for one of the team's mechanics. Wayne Hill's passion for motorsports led him to pursue a career in the United States working for the Champ Car World Series. In 2005, Hill joined Rocketsports and currently works on the #8 Pemex/GICSA/Del Valle Rocketsports Champ Car driven by Mario Dominguez. Born in Cairns, and spent most of his life in Tasmania, he will make his return to his home country this weekend participating in the Lexmark Indy 300.

Round 13 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford takes place next weekend, October 20-22, in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia. The Lexmark Indy 300 takes the green flag on Sunday, October 22, at 1:10 p.m. local time in Australia. The race can be seen via tape delay on SPEED Channel in the United States on Sunday, October 22 at 2:00 p.m. EST. To follow Rocketsports all weekend, check out the team's website at www.rocketsportsracing.com or log onto www.champcar.ws and sign up for Race Director.

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

"I really enjoy my trips to Surfers Paradise. I think the track has a really nice style, so it is always fun to race there. Last year I started third and I earned my first win there in 2002, so my history on this track has been pretty good. I just hope that we can be fast in the #8 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone Rocketsports car for not only the team, but our sponsors Pemex, GICSA, Del Valle, along with my personal sponsors Telmex and Bridgestone."

Antonio Pizzonia #18 Lexington Energy Services/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone

"I am very excited to be returning to the Champ Car field with Rocketsports Racing. Australia, I have been told, is a very challenging street-course to run, but I am ready for the fight. I look forward to getting back into the #18 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone Rocketsports car and giving it my very best this weekend for the team and our new sponsor Lexington Energy Services. It is exciting to have them on board with us, so I hope to have a good race and finish with a positive result."

-credit: rocketsports racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Antonio Pizzonia , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Nigel Mansell , Paul Gentilozzi , Mario Dominguez , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Sébastien Bourdais , Timo Glock