Mario Dominguez mastering the hairpin just before entering the Long Beach Shoreline Drive straightaway in his Pacific Coast Motorsports Panoz DP01 Image Credit: Andy Sallee - TSO Photographer (2008)
It’s All, Or ALL – "Nothing" Is NOT An Option At Pacific Coast Motorsports
… or, when the pure love of motorsport meets a strong management style.
This year, 2008 has been quite a year for Pacific Coast Motorsports. It started off smooth enough, the kick-off party at the Hard Rock Hollywood was a complete success. Members of the C-300 volunteer group in Long Beach, luminaries’ from the Grand Prix of Long Beach Association, card carrying Screen Actors Guild members, photographers, and fans enjoyed themselves under the guitar and beside the Atlantic racing cars before retiring inside for food and chat.
At that time, back in the middle of February, Pacific Coast Motorsports, under the management of team president, Tyler Tadevic, had plans to compete successfully in two major American open-wheel series. After all, in 2004, the team had put together a series championship winning campaign with Jon Fogarty and was looking to do the same in the ChampCar World Series after what the team had learned from completing its first season in 2007 with a two car, three driver effort with Alex Figge, Ryan Dalziel, and later, ChampCar veteran Mario Dominguez.
Frankie Muniz made a big improvement over his Long Beach debut last year by starting ten positions ahead in the field and finishing four over his 2007 result. “Frankie struggled initially, but by the end of the second qualifying session, he was less than a second off of the pole, and we think that is pretty good for a driver who is only in his third year of racing. It is a big improvement over last year when he was three seconds off of the pole. I am really proud of him.” said PCM Team Owner, Tyler Tadevic. Image Credit: PCM Website (2008)
In about the time it took the PCM transporter to leave Oxnard and drive to Sebring for the first at speed testing for the Atlantic series where Frankie Muniz (yes that, "Malcom In The Middle" star, Frankie Muniz), and Carl Skerlong were anxious to get the season started … an announcement came down that the CCWS would merge with the Indy Racing League starting immediately.
The investment in equipment and relationships that had been forged over previous years that were planned out and put in place, in order to compete at the highest levels of professional motorsports had to be totally re-assessed in a bizarre game of high-stakes 52 card pick-up.
What was once viewed as a 2008 sophomore season chase toward a championship title with American born driver (a dwindling breed) Alex Figge, just became a rookie motorsports competition effort with new equipment, new tracks, new rules, and no driver, no sponsor. All of this with the prospect of having to run one last race through the streets of Long Beach in about two months.
See you all on Shoreline Drive …
Mario Dominguez with outgoing Pacific Coast Motorsports Team Owner, Tom Figge during the Third Place Podium Finish Trophy presentation ceremony at the 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Image Credit: Andy Sallee - TSO Photographer (2008)
This edited and excerpted from Racer Magazine -
SPECIAL: PCM - Poster Child of What’s Possible
Written by: David Phillips - Senior writer, RACER Magazine - http://www.racer.com - 04/29/2008 - 04:50 PM - Oxnard, Calif.
The situation is rather different at Pacific Coast Motorsports, where the IndyCar Series’ newest team owner – former team president Tyler Tadevic – has gone into hock up to (and past) his ears to field a pair of Dallara-Hondas for the coming season. And even that wouldn’t have been nearly enough but for the 11th hour arrival of the “Visit Mexico” sponsorship program, courtesy of driver Mario Dominguez and the Tourism Bureau of Mexico City.
Then again, the fact that a team is competing in the 2008 IndyCar Series thanks largely to sponsorship may be the most encouraging sign yet of the altered financial dynamics wrought by the reunification of Indy car racing.
“You look at the other teams and most of those other teams had some sort of investor to facilitate the move from Champ Car,” Tadevic observes. “But ours is one of the only ones that’s set up 100% on sponsorship, sponsorship derived from a driver who went out and sold the program. I like to think of us as the poster child of what is possible.”
Truthfully, PCM is already something of a poster child for the shifting sands of American racing in the 21st century. Founded in 2003 by banker Tom Figge in support of his son Alex’s racing career.
PCM then ran the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am GT in ’05 before finishing the year in Daytona Prototypes. A full season of Daytona Prototypes followed with another one in the cards for ’07 until a chance meeting between Tom Figge and Kalkhoven led PCM down the Champ Car path.
PCM entered into a partnership with Shane Seneviratne to bring the US RaceTronics Atlantic team under its wings [for 2008].
[The CCWS/IRL merge agreement] spelled the end for the Figges’ cycle of investment, liquidation and re-investment . . . and the emergence of Tadevic as the new owner of the team.
“I was able to put myself as far in hock as my creditors would allow me,” Tadevic continues. “I scraped up the sums necessary to buy the company out. Mr. Figge was gracious enough to allow me to do so, and when we parted ways I sort of went all in. As I explained to everybody, ‘I’m all in on a pair of twos!’ I’m either gonna get another two on the draw or I’m gonna have to fold and find something else to do!”
Fortunately, Dominguez arrived with that missing two with a three to boot – as in a third-place finish in the Champ Car swan song at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The deuce? That would be the Visit Mexico sponsorship.
Mario Dominguez at the announcement of the "Visit Mexico City" sponsorship in Mexico City. Image Credit: PCM Website (2008)
“All kudos go to Mario,” says Tadevic. “He’s been working on this program with Mexico City and he was good enough to give us the opportunity to meet with those people.
“The program has a lot of potential going forward. We are extremely proud, not only to have Mario but to represent a city the likes of Mexico City.
PCM will have to make due with two “used” cars that only arrived at its shop in Oxnard, Calif., the Wednesday before the Long Beach race. The team unloaded its two Dallara-Hondas from the transporter, loaded two Panoz-Cosworths and headed down the coast to Long Beach where Dominguez capped a highly competitive weekend with a fine third place.
Although Tadevic sees Long Beach as a sign of PCM’s growing maturity, he is also keenly aware of the monumental challenge that remains, one that includes not only the IndyCar Series but PCM’s continuing relationship with Seneviratne and US RaceTronics.
“I think our results at Long Beach really indicate we’re taking some significant steps forward,” Tadevic says. “We were really looking forward to running a Champ Car in ’08 as one of the teams to be contended with.”
“First, we’re not exactly ‘newbies’ when it comes to doing something new and second, with the Atlantic program we’re proud to keep that going and we’re thankful to Mazda and Cooper Tires to keep that series up and running. Third, over the winter, we hired some really capable people with IRL and oval experience, including Didier Francesia a chief mechanic from Target/Ganassi, and we have (crew chief) Roy Wilkerson and (mechanic) Chuck Miller who were with us last year and have a significant number of Indy 500s and time in the IRL under their belts.
“Then, engineering-wise, we brought on Gerald Tyler, who has a ton of oval experience in Indy Lights and Champ Car. It’s the same with our general manager, Michael Harvey. So I think we’re better prepared personnel-wise for the IRL than a lot of other teams. Can we be ‘best of the rest?’ I think we can and I think what we did in Long Beach displays that. As an organization we’re really matured and I think we’re ready to make that next step.”
“I’ve become pretty good friends with Michael Cannon, race engineer at HVM,” says Tadevic. “Michael told me the other day, ‘You’re the most ambitious man in motorsports.’ I think what he was really saying was that I’m either the most ambitious man in motorsports – or the stupidest. But we’ll see. All I can say for now is that failure is not in the scope of things.
Mario Dominguez (center) and Tyler Tadevic (right, sunglasses) celebrates a third place podium finish with the team of Pacific Coast Motorsports at Long Beach. Image Credit: PCM Website (2008)
The key to Pacific Coast Motorsports and Tyler Tadevic's management style (and the absolute love of the competition provided through racing automobiles) can be found in this Tadevic statement, “Every off-season we liquidated what assets we had procured for the series for the season before and throw those funds back towards a new series.
We’d go backwards a bit every time, but not as much as you might think when we were able to take our capital investments and basically roll them into the next investment throughout that entire time.”
It is this tough but smart management strategy through the years at Pacific Coast Motorsports that has allowed Mario Dominguez, at this very moment, to pursue the lifelong dream of competing at the Indianapolis 500. The dream begins Sunday, May 4, with the gates at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track open for spectators from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. ... with the Rookie Orientation Program on track from noon-5 p.m.
We, here at The EDJE, are doubleing down on the success of Tyler Tadevic and the Oxnard, California based team at Pacific Coast Motorsports.
... notes from The EDJE