CHAMPCAR/CART: Homestead PacWest Race Report

Mark Blundell finished 13th in the opening round of the FedEx Championship Series at the Homestead-Miami Speedway today after battling an ill-handling car for the majority of the 150-lap contest on the 1.5-mile oval. The ...

Mark Blundell finished 13th in the opening round of the FedEx Championship Series at the Homestead-Miami Speedway today after battling an ill-handling car for the majority of the 150-lap contest on the 1.5-mile oval.

The #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz driver was forced to pit as early as lap 11 in the first yellow flag period to try and rectify his problems.

That initial stop put him a lap down on the field and although he managed to get that lap back and actually take the lead briefly when the rest of the field pitted after lap 57, there were not enough well-placed safety car periods to put him back in contention.

"I battled with the car from the opening laps," said Blundell. "We finally got the car consistent towards the end when at speed, but I really battled in traffic and simply could not race with anyone.

"The boys gave me great stops and the Firestones and Mercedes-Benz engine were both really strong, but we just did not have the set-up underneath us to do the job. "If we can get the car to handle better I think we have the ingredients to be competitive this season."

MAURICIO GUGELMIN #17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ  16TH

Mauricio Gugelmin missed an opportunity to open his points account in the opening round of the FedEx Championship Series when he ran out of fuel on lap 99 of the 150-lap race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway today.

Gugelmin's #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz stopped on the back straight and had to be towed back to the pit lane. The team was examining the cause of the problem after Gugelmin missed his next scheduled stop by 1.5 laps. Gugelmin rejoined the race and ran with strong pace, but finished in 16th place four laps down on the leader.

"We did not have a perfect car at the start, the car was loose," said Gugelmin. "We hung in there and adjusted the bars and weight jacker and made-up a few places before going on stand-by mode to preserve fuel.

"The crew did a great job on the first stop to fix the balance of the car and I think we had a quick car through the turns.

"We have to investigate it, but either we did not get enough fuel into the car on the second stop or there was a pick-up problem. We ran out of fuel way before we should have.

"Unfortunately we gave up some points today, but I think we have the package to be competitive at Nazareth."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell