CHAMPCAR/CART: Michigan Saturday PacWest notes

MARK BLUNDELL FASTEST MERCEDES-BENZ RUNNER IN QUALIFYING FOR MICHIGAN 500 (Brooklyn, Mi) -- PacWest Racing's Mark Blundell will lead the Mercedes-Benz runners into 11th round of the FedEx Championship Series at the Michigan Speedway ...

MARK BLUNDELL FASTEST MERCEDES-BENZ RUNNER IN QUALIFYING FOR MICHIGAN 500

(Brooklyn, Mi) -- PacWest Racing's Mark Blundell will lead the Mercedes-Benz runners into 11th round of the FedEx Championship Series at the Michigan Speedway tomorrow.

Blundell, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz, clocked a time of 31.789 seconds at an average speed of 226.558mph on the first of his two flying qualifying laps and will start 17th on the grid -- the highest placed of the five Mercedes-Benz runners in the field.

Mauricio Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, set a time of 31.909 seconds at 225.559mph on his first qualifying lap and will start from 20th on the grid.

Gugelmin actually set the world closed course speed record with an average lap of 240.942mph in his Mercedes-Benz-powered machine at the California Speedway in Fontana in 1997 when the Champ Cars ran with a much faster aerodynamic package.

Both Blundell and Gugelmin believe they have a good race package for tomorrow's grueling 500 mile race -- the first of two 500-mile endurance contests this season.

MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 17th
"I think that is probably the best we could have expected," said Blundell. "I don't really think there was much left in it. I think we have a reasonable car for the race and we seem to run OK in traffic. Tomorrow is a going to be a long, long day and we just have to ensure we are there at the end."

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 20th
"My car was actually handling pretty well," said Gugelmin. "It was glued to the ground all the way around the course and the set-up was fine. We were flat out for the entire lap and I got as much out of my car as possible."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell