Long Beach Saturday qualifying report

Rain Gives Dominguez First Career Pole At Long Beach No Improvements Over Friday's Qualifying On Wet Track LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 7, 2001) - Rainy conditions sealed the first road course pole for Mario Dominguez (del Valle/Corona/Televisa...

Rain Gives Dominguez First Career Pole At Long Beach
No Improvements Over Friday's Qualifying On Wet Track

LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 7, 2001) - Rainy conditions sealed the first road course pole for Mario Dominguez (del Valle/Corona/Televisa Lola) Saturday after a wet Long Beach race course prevented any improved speeds in final qualifying for Sunday's race. Round Two of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship, Sunday's sprint will be telecast on ESPN2 in same-day coverage at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT).

Recent testing has helped Dominguez and PacWest gel as a team and it showed at Long Beach on Friday. The third-year driver from Mexico lapped the 1.968-mile Long Beach track at an average speed of 93.260 mph (75.968 seconds). Although he did go out late in the wet conditions Saturday, it was just a familiarization run and not for any laps under speed. No driver lapped within three seconds of the pole-winning time Saturday.

"I knew my time from yesterday would be faster because of the rain, but we went out there anyway to get a feel for the car on a wet track," said Dominguez. "I'm very happy to secure my first road course pole (second career pole) at such a prestigious race as Long Beach. This is a very challenging circuit, but I like it especially when I have such a great car that's capable of running very fast. My crew worked very hard all weekend to make sure things were just right, and it paid off. I'm looking forward to bringing PacWest to the podium tomorrow, and I'll be working very hard to secure my second win in a Lights car."

Dorricott Racing's Jon Fogarty (Thomas Fogarty Winery &Vineyards Lola) will start second tomorrow despite a contact incident Friday with his teammate Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola). He lapped at an average speed of 92.812 mph (76.335 seconds).

"I look forward to the race but it's hard not to look back at what happened yesterday," Fogarty said. "Before I had the incident with Damien, I was running faster than my earlier times and getting stronger overall. I was good for 'P2' but I might have been able to win the pole. I wish we would have had good weather today but, at the same time, I'm pleased to place a Dorricott Racing car on the front row. This is the first opportunity I've had to run Long Beach's circuit. We haven't had a chance to run a lot of laps this weekend but I'm comfortable with the track lay-out."

Faulkner also did well to hang on to fourth despite the incident with Fogarty.

It has been a good weekend in total, so far, for PacWest as the team's other driver Dan Wheldon (Gemstar Lola) qualified third at an average speed of 92.716 mph (76.414 seconds).

"We went out there today to see how the car would handle in the rain," Wheldon said. "I'll need to be aggressive at the start of the race to put my car in a strong position. I've done well here in the past, so I feel I have a point to prove tomorrow. My crew has given me a great car and I look forward to being on the podium when all is said and done."

Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) will start sixth, sharing that row with points leader Derek Higgins (Mexpro/StarlightDiamonds.com/PrecioBase.com Lola).

"Qualifying was more a quick check of the car than anything else," Bell said. "The wet track and cooler conditions made it impossible to run competitive times like yesterday. It's too bad about the weather because we could have been much better than sixth fastest. The set-up is about what I want for the race."

-Indy Lights-

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Jon Fogarty , Townsend Bell , Dan Wheldon , Derek Higgins , Mario Dominguez , Damien Faulkner