CHAMPCAR/CART: Chicago PacWest race notes

(Chicago, IL) -- PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin finished with his second best result of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series when he finished seventh in the Target Grand Prix at the Chicago Motor Speedway today. Gugelmin, driver of the ...

(Chicago, IL) -- PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin finished with his second best result of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series when he finished seventh in the Target Grand Prix at the Chicago Motor Speedway today.

Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, showed tremendous patience as he picked his way through the field from his starting position of 16th on the tight Chicago one-mile oval and was helped by some great pit work from his Nextel crew. It was the Brazilian's best result since he finished second at the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix at the Nazareth Speedway which was run on May 27 after being originally postponed due to snow on April 9.

Mark Blundell, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz, was black flagged after just 18 laps because smoke was detected coming from the rear of his car. On his arrival to the pit box the mechanical problem was found to be terminal. The early exit was enormously frustrating for the Motorola crew who did some major component changes after the morning warm-up in less than two hours to ensure Blundell could make the race in his qualified vehicle.

Young Brazilian Cristiano da Matta had his maiden victory today ahead of Michael Andretti and Gil de Ferran. The FedEx Series resumes at Mid Ohio on August 13.

Mauricio Gugelmin:
"We ran a very smart race today and we were able to finish with a reasonable amount of points," said Gugelmin. I had a great handling car which was important because this is such a difficult place to pass. I am very happy with my Nextel crew who gave me great pit stops all afternoon and helped us gain track position. Certainly a better qualifying spot would have helped us a lot. This result gives us a needed confidence boost going into Mid-Ohio in two weeks."

Mark Blundell:
"I don't really have much to say," said Blundell. "All this is getting pretty frustrating for me, so I would hate to experience how my Motorola crew are feeling at the moment. Those boys worked at an incredible rate to get me on to the grid after our mechanical problem in the warm-up and then we lasted just 18 laps. All we can do is put this behind us and head to Mid Ohio in two weeks time and try again. The fact that we have not turned this around is not due to a lack of trying from anyone on this team."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Cristiano da Matta