MADISON, Ill. (May 23, 1998) - MCI Racing Team/Arciero-Wells Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) driver Max Papis finished 22nd today in round six of the 1998 FedEx Championship Series at Gateway International Raceway. Papis' teammate, Robby...
MADISON, Ill. (May 23, 1998) - MCI Racing Team/Arciero-Wells Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) driver Max Papis finished 22nd today in round six of the 1998 FedEx Championship Series at Gateway International Raceway. Papis' teammate, Robby Gordon, making his second start in the Panasonic Duskin/MCI-sponsored entry, finished 13th.
Most of the practice sessions and the actual qualifying session were rained out for the 236-lap race. Starting positions were determined by combining times from the practice session on Thursday and a rain-interrupted Friday practice session. The heavy rains almost eliminated any real chance of preparing for the 295-mile race. Papis started 24th and Gordon qualified 13th. Gordon's qualifying position was the highest ever for a Toyota engine.
"We had a good car today and we were improving it as the race went on," said Papis. "Then I went into the corner and Arnd [Meier] chopped me off. I'm very disappointed for MCI and the crew. I hope CART will do something about what happened."
"We had a pretty good weekend; things were looking up," said Gordon. "The Panasonic Duskin/MCI car was better than it showed. Something went wrong early in the race. I honestly felt after this morning's practice that we could have finished in the top-five. We felt we had a car that we could have raced for the win. But something happened after the first yellow and we got a wake-up call. The car handled well all day. It's one of those things. We still had a good weekend; the reliability of the engines is better."
According to Lee White of Toyota Racing Development (TRD), the car possibly developed electronic problems during the race.
The next race for the MCI Racing Team/Arciero-Wells is at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis. on Sunday, May 31, 1998. The race will air live on ESPN at 1:30 p.m. ET. Please check local listings. The Milwaukee race is the middle race in a group of three in a row, including Gateway, Milwaukee and Detroit. It is the first of two separate occasions this year in which CART races on three consecutive weekends.
"I'm looking forward to going to Milwaukee next week," said Gordon, who will be running at the Milwaukee Mile for the first time since 1996. "We run great on the one-mile ovals. I've had a lot of success there before [1995 fifth, 1994 sixth and 1993 tenth]. It should be a race we can run well with the Toyota package. Hopefully, we can top the seventh-place finish we had at Nazareth."