PKV names Dominguez to replace Gommendy
Champ Car veteran Mario Dominguez will replace the injured Tristan Gommendy in the #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone car for today’s Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton, July 20-22, on the temporary airport circuit at City Centre Airport, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Dominguez, 31, takes over for Gommendy, who crashed during Friday’s provisional qualifying and sustained an edema of two thoracic vertebras. The injury, which was diagnosed yesterday afternoon, was deemed serious enough to keep Gommendy from driving today. He will be re-evaluated by Dr. Terry Trammel next week in Indianapolis according to Champ Car Director of Medical Affairs, Dr. Chris Pinderski.
“I know Tristan is very disappointed, but when yesterday’s MRI revealed the edema of two thoracic vertebras, the doctors determined that he could not race today,” said PKV Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser. “Tristan has done an outstanding job for PKV Racing so far this year and we expect that he will continue do an outstanding job for us as soon as he is cleared to race again.”
Commenting on the selection of Dominguez, Vasser said, “Mario is a fast and reliable driver. He is the most experienced driver (particularly with the new car) available and we are confident he can get the job done. We considered other options, but decided that putting Mario in the #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing machine was the best course of action.”
Dominguez is campaigning his sixth Champ Car season. He will be making his 82nd career start and his fourth of the 2007 season today. The native of Mexico City, Mexico, ran three races for Forsythe Championship Racing earlier this year qualifying in the top-10 all three times with a best starting position of seventh in Las Vegas (10th in Long Beach and ninth in Houston). He has finished in the top-10 twice this year place a season high sixth at Houston (ninth in Vegas and 17 in Long Beach).
“This is never the way you want to get the opportunity to race, but I am honored and pleased that PKV Racing has given me this opportunity,” Dominquez said. “I feel bad for Tristan. He has done a great job this year and I am sure he will be back in the #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing car very soon. I want to thank Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and Mark Johnson for this chance and I will do my best to live up to the confidence the team has placed in me and give them the results they deserve.”
Dominguez, who made his Champ Car debut in 2002 after spending three seasons in the Indy Lights, has earned 11 career podium finishes including two wins (Surfers Paradise in 2002 and Miami in 2003). The 2002, Rookie of the Year, has been a consistent performer finishing in the top-10 in the point standings four times in his previous five seasons, including the last four in a row, placing a career best fifth in 2004 (sixth in 2003, ninth in 2005 and 2006). Dominguez has one career pole position taking the honors in Houston last year.
Gommendy, a Champ Car rookie, is currently 13th in the standings 11 points out of tenth. The talented and personable 27-year-old native of Paris, France has finished in the top-10 twice in the first seven races this year scoring a season high fifth in his Champ Car debut in Las Vegas and placing seventh in Portland. Gommendy, who captured just the second pole in PKV Racing history and first on a road course at Mont-Tremblant, has also finished 11th at Long Beach, 12th at Mont-Tremblant, where an electrical problem nullified the pole, 13th at Houston and Cleveland and 15th at Toronto. At both Long Beach and Houston, Gommendy engaged in spirited battles for the lead with three-time Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais before making late race stops for fuel. Gommendy has qualified in the top-10 four times in seven attempts this year with the one pole (made him just the third Champ Car rookie to capture a pole since 2001). In addition, he has qualified fifth in Portland, eighth in Houston and ninth in Long Beach (11th in Las Vegas, 12th at Cleveland and 14th in Toronto). Gommendy, a veteran of European open wheel racing, won the 2002 Formula 3 France championship and the prestigious Formula 3 Macau GP race also in 2002, is sixth in laps led (31), 11th in laps completed (427) and miles completed (891.671) and ninth.
“I am, obviously very disappointed,” Gommendy said. “The crash wasn’t that bad. It was nothing special, but I have some pain in my back that makes it difficult to drive. I think the #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing car is fast. I think it is a top-five car, so that makes the situation and the decision more difficult. Hopefully, things will get better soon and I can get back in the car as early as San José. My job right now is to do whatever it takes to get health and to help Mario and the team in any way I can, so we can have a good result today.”
PKV Racing will be making its fifth and sixth starts while contesting its third race in Edmonton. The team has qualified in the top-10 three times in four previous attempts with a best starting position of fifth by Cristiano da Matta at the inaugural event in 2005 and Oriol Servia last year. They have one top-10 finish a fourth place showing last year by Servia.
The Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton, Round #8 of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, will be held today, on the temporary circuit at City Centre Airport in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The race will be televised live on ESPN at 3:00 p.m. (ET).