Mexicans might buy into PCM team
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," said Mexican driver Mario Dominguez, who gave his team hope for Indy by placing third in the Champ Car finale at Long Beach, Calif., on April 20. "We're only going into the most difficult race on the planet."
|Mario Dominguez in the Mexican Tourism Bureau car|
Just getting to Indy was no small achievement after PCM lost its sponsorship with the merger. Team co-owner Tom Figge, whose son, Alex, was a PCM driver, decided he'd had enough and was ready to fold the team until Tadevic "put myself in hock with everything I own" to assume sole ownership.
Tadevic explored several options outside the IndyCar Series, including offshore boat racing, and was running out of ideas when Dominguez arrived bearing sponsorship from his homeland.
The Mexico City Tourism Board is beckoning fans to "Visit Mexico City" in festive lettering on the sidepods of the No. 96 PCM car. The tourism board has made a two-year commitment to sponsor the car and Tadevic said it has inquired about buying a stake in the team.
The money arrived in the nick of time. "Our guys were able to cash their paychecks," Tadevic said.
Dominguez is so popular in his homeland that Mexico City is installing more than 90 Jumbotron television screens at sporting venues and parks around the city just for the race.
"This is not just a project of this team any more," Dominguez said. "This is the project of a country."
Tadevic also sees a unique marketing opportunity in the U.S.
"I think we can bring a contingent to this series that is not here now," he said. "If you look at it, 78 percent of the Hispanic market in the U.S. is Mexican. Our intention is to tap into that."
Several PCM employees have Indy experience, including chief engineer Gerald Tyler. He worked for Dale Coyne Racing with driver Brian Till in 1994.
"We finished 12th; at least that's what I have in my memory," he said. "I don't know, maybe we were 30th."
Nope, 12th is correct. A similar showing this time would be no small accomplishment.
"Honestly, I think it's a good thing for us to start here," Tyler said. "With all the track time you get, you can be a bit more methodical. We're at the stage where we're just trying to get the most simple things right."
PCM is in the high-rent district of the garage. Ganassi Racing, which owns the top two spots on the grid, is to one side and 14-time race winner Team Penske is on the other. That helps PCM keep its expectations in check.
Said Tadevic: "We're the meat in an oh-(expletive) sandwich." Indy Star