CHAMPCAR/CART: MercedesChicago race notes

Cristiano da Matta earned his first win in the CART FedEx Championship Series today by taking victory in the 225-lap Target Grand Prix at the 1.029-mile Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Ill. Mauricio Gugelmin, driver of the PacWest...

Cristiano da Matta earned his first win in the CART FedEx Championship Series today by taking victory in the 225-lap Target Grand Prix at the 1.029-mile Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Ill. Mauricio Gugelmin, driver of the PacWest Racing/Nextel Champ Car, was the highest finisher for Mercedes-Benz with a seventh-place result. But the most exciting performance of the day for Mercedes-Benz came courtesy of Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing driver Tony Kanaan, who started third and competed for the lead of the race until a gearbox problem forced him out on lap 146. "We lost fifth gear about 20 laps before I dropped out," said Kanaan, who was running third when the transmission failed and was listed in 16th position in the final standings. "We had a good race and made all this effort to come back. I'm going to be real strong at Mid-Ohio (Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio) in two weeks. People will be able to see that." CART's current short-oval aerodynamic package makes passing very difficult at the Chicago track, so Gugelmin's seventh-place finish from his 16th starting position was a good reward for a strong run. "We had great balance, and the car worked well all afternoon," said Gugelmin. "This is just a tough place to pass. It would have helped if I would have qualified higher, but I was happy to get a top-10 finish." Despite mechanical problems, Michel Jourdain Jr., driver of the Herdez/ Bettenhausen Motorsports/Mercedes-Benz, finished 11th. Engine failures relegated Luiz Garcia Jr. to 17th in the Hollywood/Arciero Project Racing/Mercedes-Benz, and Mark Blundell to 23rd in the PacWest Racing/Motorola/Mercedes-Benz.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain , Luiz Garcia , Mo Nunn