CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach; PacWest looking for big result in California sun

(Indianapolis, IN) - The snow boots have been stored away and the surf shorts have been brought out of mothballs as PacWest Racing heads to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California this weekend. PacWest drivers Mark Blundell and...

(Indianapolis, IN) - The snow boots have been stored away and the surf shorts have been brought out of mothballs as PacWest Racing heads to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in California this weekend.

PacWest drivers Mark Blundell and Mauricio Gugelmin are just itching to get back into their racecars for the third round of the FedEx Championship Series after Sunday's Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix was postponed at the Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania because of snow.

Blundell, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz, and Gugelmin, pilot of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, were both confident of strong performances at Nazareth and are looking forward to proving their competitiveness at Long Beach.

PacWest entered 2000 confident that pre-season preparation and proven talent will help it recapture the winning form it displayed in 1997, when Gugelmin and Blundell combined for four victories and three pole positions.

The 1997 season was ironically the year that PacWest team had its one and only podium finish in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach when Gugelmin finished second to Jimmy Vasser.

Both Gugelmin and Blundell feel they have some unfinished business on the temporary California street circuit and both are determined to fly home with a trophy this time around. "Long Beach is certainly a track where both Mark and myself would like to do well," said Gugelmin. "The circuit is demanding and allows little room for mistakes. The event always attracts a huge crowd and it's a venue where we host one of our largest groups of corporate guests for the season. With all the improvement we have made to our package, maybe this will be the year."

Blundell, who produced a memorable drive from 23rd on the grid to finish seventh at Long Beach in 1998, is confident the PacWest operation can return to victory lane in 2000. "I still believe the basic package we have with Reynard, Mercedes, and Firestone is the best one available," noted Blundell. "We know this team is capable of winning races and hopefully we can do just that this weekend. Our pre-season testing went extremely well, we've had great reliability, and I'm really impressed with the progress that Mercedes-Benz has made. "The good thing is that we definitely know it will not be snowing this weekend."

ROUND 3 - FEDEX CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES - APRIL 16, 2000 Event: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Long Beach, California Defending Champion: Juan Montoya; Defending Pole Sitter: Tony Kanaan Circuit: 1.97-mile (3.152km) temporary street course

PACWEST RACING Best Finish: Mauricio Gugelmin 2nd (1997) Best Qualifying: Mauricio Gugelmin 3rd (1997) 1999 Results Mark Blundell: Qualified 12th - Finished 13th Mauricio Gugelmin: Qualified 14th - Finished 14th

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell