Mario DomÃnguez At the Gateway Mexican driver Mario DomÃnguez had a very busy week after the eight round of the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights series which was run August 12th. He went back to the base at Indianapolis with his team, PacWest...
Mario Domínguez At the Gateway
Mexican driver Mario Domínguez had a very busy week after the eight round of the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights series which was run August 12th. He went back to the base at Indianapolis with his team, PacWest Lights, and the cars were prepared with a basic oval set up to go test at the Gateway International Speedway in Madison, Illinois, across the mighty Mississippi from St. Louis, Missouri. GIS is a short oval, 1.25 miles long but not completely plain or symmetrical. In the straights it has a slight banking of 3 degrees but the back straight is about 50 feet longer than the front one; for turns 1 and 2 banking comes at 11° and for 3 and 4 it is just 9°. The facility has 60,000 permanent seats and 30 luxury suites. It was inaugurated May 24th, 1997, as an oval, and it has hosted races from the most important series in the US, like CART, NASCAR and this year the IRL. After testing two days there with promising times, Mario went to Chicago where he spent the weekend supporting mexican driver -and former teammate- Carlos Contreras who runs with Petty Enterprises in the Nascar Truck series, NCTS. Then he went back to Indianapolis to prepare for the trip to St. Louis, and he arrived thursday at the Cardinal city.
Mario ran previously in this track in the 2000 Indy Lights championship. He qualified 13th, and after a solid performance finished sixth, best of 5 mexican drivers in the race. He was given the "move to the front" award which he got event though his car was some 5 miles slower in top speed than the leaders. This year, Mario has run three ovals, Texas, Milwaukee & Kansas, and started all of them among the top 6 including a pole position at Kansas, and ended in the points in the 3 races, getting a secod place at Milwaukee as his best result. In his 35 races in Indy Lights, the PacWest Lights driver has run 14 rounds in ovals and has scored points in 11 of them (79%), with two poles -Homestead 1999 and; Kansas 2001- and one victory -Homestead 1999. Mario has points in all the 2001 races (100%) and has scored in 20 of his last 21 races in the series (95+%), showing great consistence in a most competitive series.
Before leaving for St. Louis, Mario talked about the Gateway oval: "It is a fast oval which has two kinds of turns, two are slow and two are fast. It is very important to get the adequate balance for the car so you don't suffer like I did last year, when I was good in two turns and had a lot of push in the other two. The Del Valle-Corona-Televisa-PacWest Lights team has very good engineers and I expect to be at the front from the beginning of practice, as has been the case in all my oval races this year". Mario is the driver of car #17 Del Valle-Corona-Televisa, belonging to the PacWest Lights team, current Indy Lights champions. The mexican driver is fifth in the 2001 standings, just 4 points away from third, and he will go out from friday looking for his third pole of the season in order to fight for victory on Sunday.