CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America PacWest notes

PacWest Racing Group: Road America in Review In Friday's qualifying, Mauricio Gugelmin was forced to sit out the all-important final five minutes of his session due to engine problems. This after running just one lap on a new set of Goodyear ...

PacWest Racing Group: Road America in Review

In Friday's qualifying, Mauricio Gugelmin was forced to sit out the all-important final five minutes of his session due to engine problems. This after running just one lap on a new set of Goodyear tires. Danny Sullivan reported his chassis was handling well but lacked the necessary power to jump into the top half of the field. The PacWest pair qualified 16th and 17th, respectively, in the provisional line-up.

After a Saturday morning practice session in which both drivers ran in the top-ten, PacWest looked to improve on Friday's provisional marks the day's first qualifying session.

Each driver shaved more than two seconds off his previous qualifying time and ended the session in the top-ten. However, the "quick" group had yet to qualify and they eventually pushed both PacWest cars below where they began the day. As they had on Friday, both PacWest cars experienced problems late in the session and were forced to sit out the final laps of the session prior to the checkered flag. Gugelmin fell to 18th while Sullivan remained one position behind in 19th.

On Sunday, both Mauricio and Danny were running strong, making their way up though the pack in anticipation of a top-ten finish. However, as Gugelmin was running 12th with Sullivan close behind in 14th position, a lap 29 incident involving the pair forced both drivers out of the race prematurely. Gugelmin, who had been pursuing Adrian Fernandez for several laps, lost control of his Reynard after going off course. "Big No" quickly got his car back on the track but started to spin back toward the field and eventually made head-on contact with his teammate.

"I was passing Fernandez on the outside, got by him, but I didn't make the apex and couldn't get in gear,," said Gugelmin. "That put me in the grass a little and from there I spun and just tried to hand on. I feel bad for Danny because he didn't have anywhere to go."

"I saw the whole thing in front of me," lamented Sullivan. "Mo tried to get along Fernandez and got off track, I was running with Parker (Johnstone) and, when it happened, Parker went right and I went left. Mo just missed hitting Parker and I thought for a second I was going to be O.K. too, but his car came around and hit me nose-first. After we hit, I was waving my arms at Mo and I guess some people thought I was angry with him, but I was trying to get him out of the car because a fire had started just behind him and he couldn't see it."

GUGELMIN FIRST INDYCAR DRIVER TO TOUR RIO TRACK

On Wednesday, July 5th, Gugelmin because the first IndyCar driver to tour the site of the new 1.3 mile oval at Rio de Janeiro's Nelson Piquet International Raceway.

"Although I've seen the track before, it was great to see it taking shape into a mile oval," Gugelmin said. "The builders are really working at a quick pace-they had something like 200 people working on it when I was there. I now understand exactly what the track will be like for the race next year."

Gugelmin was in Brazil for the day taping a television commercial for associate sponsor Banco Bandeirantes.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Mauricio Gugelmin , Danny Sullivan , Nelson Piquet