CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach PacWest; claiming another notch

PacWest Racing finished with two top-10 finishes in the third round of the FedEx Championship Series in Long Beach, California today. Mark Blundell finished eighth in his ...

PacWest Racing finished with two top-10 finishes in the third round of the FedEx Championship Series in Long Beach, California today. Mark Blundell finished eighth in his #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz while Mauricio Gugelmin also scored his first points of the season by finishing 10th in his Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz. It was a very positive day for PacWest with both the team's Indy Lights cars, driven by Scott Dixon and Tony Renna, finishing 1st and 9th respectively and among the points in the opening round of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. Blundell, who started 20th, ran as high as fourth during the race and was knocking on the door of a podium finish before being hit and balked by some opposition drivers later in the race. Blundell made an early stop for fuel and tires after the first full-course yellow on lap 10 and continuing impressive pit stops from his crew kept him among the race leaders. Gugelmin, who started 16th, was hit from behind by Spaniard Oriol Servia on lap 15 and was left spinning at the hairpin as a result. The incident brought out a yellow flag and Gugelmin had to be towed back to the pits -- by the time he rejoined the race he was a lap down. The race was eventually won by Canadian Paul Tracy from Helio Castro-Neves, Jimmy Vasser, Alexandre Tagliani and Bryan Herta.

MARK BLUNDELL - #18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 8th "(Michael) Andretti pushed me at the hairpin and then when he was slowing to stop out on the track he did not get off the racing line and we lost the spots that would have given us a top-five result after losing momentum out of the next turn," said Blundell. "We talked about courtesy in the drivers' meeting, but obviously he (Andretti) was not listening. "Despite all that, I am really pleased to bring some points home for the boys in the Motorola team today who did a terrific job on all my stops and who have been working very hard to turn this around. "We really got some good performance and fuel mileage from the Mercedes-Benz which is a very encouraging sign. We just need to get on the pace earlier make sure we qualify closer to the front so we can be on the pace from the opening green."

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - #17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 10th "It wasn't going too bad until we got hit by (Oriol) Servia from behind in turn 11," said Gugelmin. "The hit put me into a spin and ultimately put me a lap down. "At that point our chances of winning were basically over and we just had to fight on and try and score some points. I didn't have a well-balanced car under brakes or when getting the power down. The Nextel crew did a great job to get me back in the race and it was good to get some points on the board.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Oriol Servia , Bryan Herta , Mark Blundell , Tony Renna