(Indianapolis, IN) â€“ PacWest Racing Group has officially signed Indy Lights driver Mario Dominguez to pilot the ...
(Indianapolis, IN) – PacWest Racing Group has officially signed Indy Lights driver Mario Dominguez to pilot the #17 PacWest Lights Lola on a full-time basis in the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series.
The twenty-seven year old Mexico City, Mexico native joins lights newcomer and 2000 Toyota Atlantic rookie of the year Dan Wheldon in the PacWest stable to help defend it’s 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship.
"I am very honored and proud to be accepted into the PacWest organization,” said Dominguez. “It has been my dream to race with a winning team such as PacWest, where I will have the opportunity to expand my career and hopefully run a sensational season. This team, and the experienced PacWest crew, will give me the resources and opportunity to compete and hopefully win the championship. Plus, to have a full-time ride entering a season where we will compete in my home country is a great thrill, and I can’t wait to get the season started."
PacWest Lights Team Manager Paul “Ziggy” Harcus agrees. "Mario is a great addition to the team. His experience with Lights cars is a benefit not only to himself, but also his crew. Mario will be a great asset for Dan Wheldon as well, and I’m confident the two of them will get along nicely and work together towards one common goal - winning. PacWest lights looks forward to a successful season and hopes to have both drivers in the running for the championship."
Dominguez joins the PacWest Lights team this year after a consistent season with Team Mexico Quaker Herdez in 2000, in which he finished eighth in the championship with 67 points.
Dominguez started his career racing go-karts from 1987 through 1991 in his home country, winning three Mexican championships and representing his country in the World Karting Championships in Spain (1989), Italy (1990), and France (1991).
In 1992, Dominguez made his first Indy Lights start with Brian Stewart Racing at Laguna Seca where he ran as high as fifth before retiring with mechanical problems. For the remaining part of the season, he competed in, and won, the U.S. Formula Russell Mazda championship with nine wins in 12 races.
The following three seasons saw Dominguez compete in the Mexican Formula 3 and Mexican Formula 3 Nissan Championships, where he scored two wins in 1994 and 1995, respectively. Dominguez then led the Formula 3 championship at the beginning of the 1996 season, scoring two more wins, before moving on to the Mexican Formula 3000 series, where he won one race (Zacatecas) and finished third in the championship.
He spent the entire 1997 season in the Mexican Formula 3000 Series, where he again finished third in the championship, winning at Mexico City and Guadalajara.
1998 saw Mario return to racing on a part-time basis in the United States in his first Indy Lights start since 1992. He competed in two races for Team Mexico, and he finished 14th at Vancouver and seventh at Laguna Seca. That same year, he won the Mexican Formula 3 title with six victories and six poles. Dominguez’s first full season in Indy Lights came in 1999 for Team Mexico, and he made an immediate impact. He won his first Lights race from the pole in his season debut in the Dayton Tire Challenge at Homestead, his first-ever race on an oval. He followed the Homestead victory with a strong charge from 17th to sixth at Long Beach to win the Dayton Move to the Front Award. Dominguez then endured a string of DNFs through the balance of the season that ended with six finishes in 12 races. The only driver in the series to finish in the top five at both superspeedway races, Mario’s 66 points placed him 11th in the championship and third in the Rookie of the Year standings. As the senior driver for Team Mexico in 2000, Dominguez joined rookie teammate Luis Diaz for the team’s first all-Mexican driver lineup. Running his second full season in Indy lights competition, he scored points in every race up until the California finale when he slowed at the finish after collecting his teammate Luis Diaz, who flipped in a heavy accident after contact with Felipe Giaffone. Mario scored a season-best third-place finish at Milwaukee after qualifying fifth, his first podium result since winning in his oval debut at Miami in 1999. He finished fifth at Detroit despite hitting the wall exiting the final turn on the last lap, and he improved eleven positions and won the Dayton Move to the Front Award at Michigan.
</pre> 2000 Dayton Indy Lights results – Mario Dominguez
Date Event Qualified Finished April 16 Long Beach 7th 10th - Running June 5 Milwaukee 5th 3rd - Running June 18 Detroit 6th 5th - Running June 25 Portland 11th 6th - Running July 22 Michigan 18th 7th - Running July 30 Chicago 15th 11th - Running August 13 Mid-Ohio 11th 11th - Running September 3 Vancouver 6th 5th - Running September 10 Laguna Seca 12th 10th - Running September 17 St Louis 12th 6th - Running October 1 Houston 9th 12th - Contact October 29 Fontana 18th 16th - Running