Nextel Mercedes driver Mauricio Gugelmin continued to showcase the efforts of his PacWest Racing and Mercedes-Benz teams with a strong qualifying performance Saturday at the Milwaukee Mile, site of Sunday's Miller Lite 225. Juan Montoya...
Nextel Mercedes driver Mauricio Gugelmin continued to showcase the efforts of his PacWest Racing and Mercedes-Benz teams with a strong qualifying performance Saturday at the Milwaukee Mile, site of Sunday's Miller Lite 225. Juan Montoya claimed the pole position for round six of the CART FedEx Championship Series with a qualifying lap of 20.899 seconds (177.769 mph).
Gugelmin, who finished second one week ago in the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix at Nazareth, Pa., qualified on the fourth row with a lap time of 21.116 seconds (175.942 mph) during the single-car qualifying session, 0.217 seconds behind Montoya.
"The balance of my race car was just perfect today," said Gugelmin. "We are certainly getting the driveability and the fuel mileage from Mercedes. We ran a long stint yesterday and got some really great data for the race. I have a lot of confidence in our race trim package. At these short ovals, you have to have a good solid race car and quick pit stops. The winner tomorrow will not be the one with the fastest car, but with the most consistent one. Our team has some momentum right now, and it feels great. Our strategy for tomorrow is to do exactly what we did at Nazareth, but improve one more position."
Gugelmin, known as "Big Mo," claimed the podium position at Nazareth * his best finish since his victory at Vancouver in 1997 * with aggressive race driving, good fuel mileage from his Mercedes engine and quick pit stops from his PacWest crew.
Tony Kanaan qualified 11th in his Mo Nunn Racing/Hollywood Mercedes with a qualifying lap of 21.168 seconds (175.510 mph), his best-ever qualifying performance at the historic Milwaukee oval. The third-year Brazilian driver and his new team did not test at Milwaukee this season, but have been competitive in practice sessions.
"Without having the benefit of testing here like most of the other teams, I think we gave a good effort today," said Kanaan. "We've been in the top 10 every session, but we've been fighting some understeer all weekend. We have a good set up for traffic, so we'll see what happens in the race. Every year of my career in Indy Lights and Champ Car, I've always turned things around at Milwaukee. So I hope that I can do that again this time."
Mark Blundell, driving the PacWest Motorola Mercedes, qualified on the ninth row with a lap time of 21.379 seconds (173.778 mph). Bettenhausen Motorsports Herdez Mercedes pilot Michel Jourdain Jr. qualified 22nd (21.878 seconds/169.814 mph), while Arciero Project Racing Group Hollywood Mercedes driver Luiz Garcia Jr. will start from the 12th row (22.610 seconds/164.317 mph).
The green flag for the Miller Lite 225 waves at 3 p.m. CT (live, ABC-TV, 4 p.m. ET).
<pre> Qualifying, Miller Lite 225 West Allis, Wis. June 3, 2000
Pos. Driver Engine Time Speed 1 Juan Montoya Toyota 20.899 177.769 2 Dario Franchitti Honda 20.954 177.303 3 Patrick Carpentier Ford Cosworth 20.964 177.218 4 Gil de Ferran Honda 20.975 177.125 5 Christian Fittipaldi Ford Cosworth 21.005 176.872 6 Paul Tracy Honda 21.087 176.184 7 Roberto Moreno Ford Cosworth 21.096 176.109 8 Mauricio Gugelmin Mercedes-Benz 21.116 175.942 9 Max Papis Ford Cosworth 21.120 175.909 10 Michael Andretti Ford Cosworth 21.140 175.743 11 Tony Kanaan Mercedes-Benz 21.168 175.510 17 Mark Blundell Mercedes-Benz 21.379 173.778 22 Michel Jourdain Jr. Mercedes-Benz 21.878 169.814 23 Luiz Garcia Jr. Mercedes-Benz 22.610 164.317
Contact Susan Schroeder with Mercedes-Benz Sports Marketing in Milwaukee at (201) 519-1406 (mobile).