CHAMPCAR/CART: Gugelmin looking forward to 2001

(Indianapolis, IN) -- Brazilian star Mauricio Gugelmin is set to continue his record-breaking run of consecutive Champ Car starts when he lines-up for PacWest Racing in the FedEx Championship Series in 2001. Gugelmin, driver of the ...

(Indianapolis, IN) -- Brazilian star Mauricio Gugelmin is set to continue his record-breaking run of consecutive Champ Car starts when he lines-up for PacWest Racing in the FedEx Championship Series in 2001.

Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Racing entry, holds the record for consecutive starts among active drivers after notching his 128th start in the Marlboro 500 at the California Speedway last October. He has recorded the last 109 of those with PacWest, and his 100th start for the team came at last year's Michigan 500.

The popular driver is the Chairman of the Championship Drivers Association (CDA), and he has earned one victory and three pole positions since joining PacWest in 1995. With his best result of 2000 coming via a second place finish at Nazareth, Gugelmin is looking forward to the future and running with Toyota power in 2001.

"It is no secret that we have faced a couple of lean years at PacWest, but I think the future looks tremendously bright," said Gugelmin. "I think becoming a Toyota-powered team in 2001 is a very positive move and will be an active ingredient in returning PacWest to championship contention. It looks as though we will have the right mix next season, it's just a matter of putting it all together."

PacWest owner Bruce R. McCaw says that Gugelmin's knowledge and experience will be a huge asset as his team heads into a new era with Toyota engines and a 20 year-old newcomer to the Champ Car team, New Zealander, Scott Dixon.

"Mauricio has been a tremendous part of this team since he joined us in 1995," said McCaw. "He has the respect of every competitor out there and really has become the 'elder statesman' that a series like this needs. At the same time he has not lost any of his competitive edge or the desire to win races at the highest level."

"I believe we will see Mauricio back on the top step of the podium next season," McCaw continued. "There is no doubt that having Mauricio and Scott (Dixon) on board will give us the right blend of youth and experience."

PacWest has started an aggressive pre-season testing schedule and will be well prepared for the 2001 FedEx Championship Series, which kicks off with a new event in Mexico on March 11.

-Tom Hollett

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mauricio Gugelmin