(Madison, Il) â€“.PacWest Racing drivers Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell had one of their toughest days at the office in this yearâ€™s FedEx Championship Series and finished out of the points in the Motorola 300 at the Gateway International ...
(Madison, Il) –.PacWest Racing drivers Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell had one of their toughest days at the office in this year’s FedEx Championship Series and finished out of the points in the Motorola 300 at the Gateway International Raceway near St Louis today.
Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, battled all day, but suffered a terminal mechanical problem on lap 198 and was forced to end his race.
Mark Blundell, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz, started 20th and made some impressive passes early to jump to 17th place. Only six laps after his first stop Blundell was forced back into the pits with an engine-related problem and his crew were forced to call it a day – just 64 laps into the 236-lap contest.
Championship contender Michael Andretti dominated a lot of the race and had lapped all but one driver in the field when his engine starting smoking and finally blew on lap 196.
Remarkably the first yellow flag condition did not occur until lap 210 when Paul Tracy clipped the wall and damaged his right-rear tire and suspension – at that point in the race Tracy had actually taken the lead in the championship.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Juan Montoya took his third win of the season from Canadian Patrick Carpentier and Patrick Racing’s Roberto Moreno.
MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ – 19th
“I had a bad vibration for my last three laps, but we don’t exactly know what the problem was,” said Gugelmin.
“We decided to park it to avoid the risk of something major going wrong and us ending up in the wall. I was really loose at the beginning of the race and also battled some push. On my second stop my crew adjusted my tire pressures and my car handled much better after that.”
MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ – 23rd
“I don’t know what we have to do,” said Blundell.
“We had made some big improvements with the balance of the car and we were making some major progress. Unfortunately we had a problem and we had to park it.
“It sounds like a broken record, but you really have to feel for this Motorola crew who have done nothing, but work their hearts out all year. I guess we just put our heads down and go to the next one.”
TOP 12: 1: Juna Montoya; 2: Patrick Carpentier; 3: Roberto Moreno; 4: Cristiano da Matta; 5: Oriol Servia; 6: Max Papis; 7: Jimmy Vasser; 8: Gil de Ferran, 9: Helio Castroneves; 10: Adrian Fernandez; 11: Kenny Brack; 12: Christian Fittipaldi. Championship points: 1: Gil de Ferran 137; 2: Roberto Moreno 129; 3: Michael Andretti 127; 4: Paul Tracy 122; Adrian Fernandez 121; Kenny Brack 118.