CHAMPCAR/CART: Mark Blundell battles way into points in Detroit

(Detroit, Mi) -- PacWest Racing's Mark Blundell overcame "a tough day at the office" to score FedEx Championship Series points in the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit in Michigan today. Blundell came to a stop twice at turn five in...

(Detroit, Mi) -- PacWest Racing's Mark Blundell overcame "a tough day at the office" to score FedEx Championship Series points in the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit in Michigan today.

Blundell came to a stop twice at turn five in his #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz at different stages of the 84-lap race, but still managed to finish 11th and record his third points-paying finish of the season.

The Englishman hit the barriers lightly the first time after misjudging his tire pressures on lap 35 and then was left with nowhere to go when Christian Fittipaldi and Gil de Ferran came together in front of him on lap 61. He managed to get going again with the help of track marshals on both occasions and showed enough persistence to get himself into a points-paying finish.

Mauricio Gugelmin had troubles of his own in his #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz when he lost five laps with an unscheduled stop due to mechanical problems on lap seven. "Big Mo" eventually got back into the race, but his chance of a points-paying finish was over.

Brazilian Helio Castroneves won his maiden race from Italian Max Papis and Spanish rookie Oriol Servia while Dario Franchitti and Patrick Carpentier made up the top five.

The next round of the FedEx Championship Series will be held in Portland Oregon on June 25.

MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 11th

"It's nice to salvage some points, but it was a hard way to do it," said Blundell.

"It was a tough day at the office. I misjudged the ride height on low tire pressures and scooted into the tires in that first incident, but we got ourselves back into the race.

"I was feeling pretty good and the Mercedes-Benz was making good fuel mileage when I got caught up in the incident with (Christian) Fittipaldi and (Gil) de Ferran.

"The Motorola crew did a great job to help us pick up positions at each stop and I think with a better qualifying spot and a little better luck we could have been running a lot closer to the front.

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 16th

"On lap seven I had to pit because I had a problem with my car," said Gugelmin.

"The boys worked as fast as they could to fix it, but by the time we were ready to go I was five laps down and our race was over.

"Basically, I spent the rest of the race running in the marbles so I would stay out of everyone's way. Our handling wasn't good all day, so I'm happy to put this one behind us and start preparing for our attack on Portland."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Oriol Servia , Mark Blundell