CHAMPCAR/CART: Mercedes, Gugelmin Keep Up the Momentum

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).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Michel Jourdain , Luiz Garcia , Mo Nunn