CHAMPCAR/CART: Mechanical problems strike PacWest at Portland

(Portland, Or) -- PacWest Racing owner Bruce McCaw celebrates his birthday tomorrow -- today he failed to get the early present he was hoping for when both his cars failed to finish the Freightliner-G.I. Joe's 200 at the Portland ...

(Portland, Or) -- PacWest Racing owner Bruce McCaw celebrates his birthday tomorrow -- today he failed to get the early present he was hoping for when both his cars failed to finish the Freightliner-G.I. Joe's 200 at the Portland International Raceway in Oregon.

At a track which holds some fond memories for both PacWest and McCaw, the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz of Mauricio Gugelmin and the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz were both out of the eighth round of the FedEx Championship Series by lap 62.

Both drivers made some big gains early in the race when they took advantage of a first-corner accident, which saw several cars come to a standstill -- Max Papis and Jimmy Vasser exiting the race as a result.

Blundell was forced to call it a day on lap 31 when he limped to the pits with a lack of power. On arriving at the pit bay a small exhaust fire ignited and was quickly extinguished.

Gugelmin stopped out on the track on lap 62, also due to a loss of power, and rolled to a stop in the run-off area of turn one.

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 19th

"I battled the handing of the car all race long, although we were able to pick up some spots from that first-turn incident," said Gugelmin.

"We did not have the car to fight for position.

"On my first two pit stops we were able to make adjustments to improve the handling, but after 15 laps on new tires I would get loose again.

"On lap 62 I lost power coming down the main straight and rolled to a stop in the run off area at turn one.

"It was a tough weekend, but all we can do is look forward to next weekend in Cleveland."

MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 20th

"The car was reasonably strong at the start and we were in a points-paying position after only a few laps," said Blundell.

"I just ended up with no power and had to come in.

"I guess the boys will have to take it back to the shop and strip it down to find out what the problem was.

"We deserved better than this today. To say it is frustrating would be an understatement.

"Unfortunately we could not give Bruce a better birthday gift."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Mauricio Gugelmin , Bruce McCaw