Dominguez to take Lavin’s seat at Forsythe

UPDATE #5 Champ Car's website now has an article announcing Mario Dominguez will drive for Forsythe Racing, per our report yesterday. We hear sponsorship will be announced at some point. 03/29/05 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today as has learned that Mario Dominguez has signed with Forsythe Racing, possibly with backing from Corona. We await the formal announcement. 03/29/05 Hearing that Mario Dominguez is real close to signing with Forsythe Racing and we hear that the HVM team might become the "European" National team, which explains why they tested both Verstappen and Bremer recently. An owner from Europe might be buying into the team. Team co-owner Keith Wiggins of course has a European background having been involved in the old Pacific F1 team. The only issue with this whole theory is that HVM is half Mexican owned. 03/25/05 has learned that it is quite possible Rodolfo Lavin may do a swap with Mario Dominguez that will see Dominguez driving for Forsythe Racing alongside Paul Tracy and Lavin driving for HVM alongside Jos Verstappen or Ronnie Bremer. Mark C. 03/25/05 A reader writes, Dear AJ Perez, Wow, I get really surprised when a staff writer puts out an article like this close to the start of the race weekend. What is the intention of the article? Is it to put question in the mind of the potential attendees? What good does that serve? The city enjoys the benefit of this race and has for 30 years. Champ Car has brought a great show to Long Beach every year and has helped transform Long Beach into a great destination from a slum. This is the thanks they get from the staff writers? You had better rethink your position because if you lose Champ Car and get the IRL you won’t have a race in five years or so if it takes that long. I don’t know if you noticed but the fans do NOT show up for IRL races anywhere. They had 5,000 at Phoenix last week. So before you all slam Champ Car for no good reason you should be very careful for what you wish for. IF it comes true you just might be back slumming it again. Thank you. Sam Mancuso, Miami, FL 03/25/05 [Editor's Note: We heard rumblings of this in Sebring, but Dominguez and Keith Wiggins denied it so we are not sure this story is accurate. If true, look for Ronnie Bremer and Jos Verstappen to possibly take the two HVM seats because both have some financial backing. Mario Dominguez going public with his F1 contract talks and testing the Jordan F1 car before HVM could even complete their sponsorship deals potentially threatened any prospects of landing a sponsor deal. He stamped a Champ Car expiration date across his name turning himself into a lame duck no sponsor would touch with 10-foot pole. Mario may have inadvertently torpedoed his own seat at HVM.] A mere two weeks away from the start of qualifying for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the car count dropped to 12 when Mario Dominguez apparently lost his seat with HVM Racing. HVM Racing, formerly known as Herdez Competition, lost the sponsorship of the Mexican food conglomerate in the off-season. A sponsor that was to replace Herdez fell through recently, leaving the team without the sponsorship dollars to keep Dominguez.

"We want to keep him, but we don't have any control over it," she said in a phone interview Thursday night. Messages left with Champ Car were not immediately returned.

There have been reports that Dominguez may land with Forsythe Racing, a team owned by one of the owners of Champ Car. Forsythe Racing was to race a three-car team last year, but is currently running only reigning Long Beach Grand Prix champ Paul Tracy.

While the race occurred a week later on the calendar, the series had the same amount of drivers confirmed on this date last year. Series officials explained away the low car count at the time as an aftereffect of the series emerging out of bankruptcy in January 2004. What's their excuse this time? Long Beach Press Telegram

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