PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell are hoping the Pennsylvania weather is kind to them tomorrow and they have the opportunity to produce official qualifying times for Sunday's Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix at Nazareth Speedway.
PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell are hoping the Pennsylvania weather is kind to them tomorrow and they have the opportunity to produce official qualifying times for Sunday's Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix at Nazareth Speedway. Both drivers finished outside the top 10 in today's practice session for the second round of the FedEx Championship Series, but believe they have the right package to post impressive qualifying times tomorrow when they have the 1-mile oval to themselves for a couple flying laps. If the weather turns nasty tomorrow, today's combined practice times will stand and Gugelmin will start from 13th in his #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz while Blundell will start from 15th in his Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz. Juan Montoya posted the fastest time today with a 19.189-second lap and was followed by Helio Castro-Neves (19.328s) and Roberto Moreno (19.403s).
MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 13th overall Morning session: 19.914s -- 10th; Afternoon session: 19.764s -- 13th
"We had planned to run full tanks this morning and this afternoon, which we did," said Gugelmin. "The car behaved pretty well, it's fast, but we're struggling a little bit with the engine mapping, especially when we're in traffic. Toward the end of my long run in the afternoon session, as I was about to come in, we had an oil leak so we switched to my test car. "The "T" car had too much fuel so I never had a chance to run light, which is why we didn't get a good time out there. We have a good racecar, but we have to work on the engine mapping. "If the weather will cooperate, we're looking good for Sunday."
MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 15th overall Morning session: 20.349s -- 15th; Afternoon session: 19.774s 14th
"We did a lot of laps today and gathered a lot of data," said Blundell. "I think we have put a lot of the pieces together to form a good racecar. "We are working with the Mercedes-Benz engineers on the mapping of the engine to make it a little more driveable, especially in traffic. "We threw on a new set of tires right towards the end of the session to have a crack at "snapping" a quick lap, but when Patrick Carpentier hit the wall and brought out the final yellow -- that was that. "It is only the first day and if the weather stays kind to us I think we can put in a strong qualifying effort. Qualifying is so important here because it is not easy to pass and the further you are back down the grid, the more chance there is of you getting caught-up in someone else's accident."