(Elkhart Lake, Wi) --.PacWest Racing's Mark Blundell was robbed of possibly his best result of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series when mechanical problems ended his day in the Motorola 220 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin ...
(Elkhart Lake, Wi) --.PacWest Racing's Mark Blundell was robbed of possibly his best result of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series when mechanical problems ended his day in the Motorola 220 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin today.
Blundell, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz, started 20th on the grid, but was running as high as seventh when he was forced into the pits with his first gearbox problem of the entire season just seven laps from home.
The Englishman's best result of the year came in race four in Rio Brazil on April 30 when he finished 7th after starting 23rd. On that occasion he won the Budweiser "Hard Charger" award for improving the most places in the race -- he would have done the same today if he had maintained his position. It was an even more impressive effort from the Motorola team when you consider Blundell was forced to an earlier-spec back-up engine after his race motor was found to have a problem on arrival at the track at 6am this morning.
Mauricio Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, also showed a lot of promise in the race after starting 10th on the grid, but he only lasted 20 laps of the 55-lap contest on the spectacular 4.048-mile permanent road course. Gugelmin was working hard on making good fuel mileage, but lost power on the back part of the circuit.
MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 11th
"The boys did a fantastic job in the pits and we all just worked our hearts out all day," said Blundell.
"We were looking at our best result of the season and then I had trouble with the downshift in second and third gears. I can't really complain because that was our first gearbox problem all year and there were plenty of other teams that had similar problems today. We could not run our race engine because of a few problems and it was a matter of balancing fuel economy and speed, with a power plant, which was not latest spec.
"We gave it everything we had, but we just pulled up seven laps short. We still managed to finish 11th and salvage a couple of points. It would have been great to finish in the top six with Motorola sponsoring the event for the first time, but it was not to be."
MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 17th
"We lost a couple of places on the start, but we settled into a groove and were running consistently in the top 10," said Gugelmin.
"The Nextel crew gave me some good stops and we were looking pretty strong when we lost power on the back part of the track.
"We were making the fuel mileage required which was extremely hard, but to make it just 20 laps is disappointing. I just have to look forward to Vancouver in two weeks time and hope I can reproduce results similar to 1997 when I won up there."
TOP 12: 1: Paul Tracy; 2: Adrian Fernandez; 3: Kenny Brack; 4: Roberto Moreno; 5: Jimmy Vasser; 6: Memo Gidley; 7: Max Papis; 8: Tony Kanaan; 9: Helio Castroneves; 10: Oriol Servia; 11: Mark Blundell; 12: Dario Franchitti.