CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee Mercedes-Benz race report

Juan Montoya became the ninth driver to follow his Indianapolis 500 victory with a win the following week at historic Milwaukee Mile as the 1999 CART champion claimed Monday's Miller Lite 225, round six of the FedEx Championship Series.

Juan Montoya became the ninth driver to follow his Indianapolis 500 victory with a win the following week at historic Milwaukee Mile as the 1999 CART champion claimed Monday's Miller Lite 225, round six of the FedEx Championship Series. Polesitter Montoya led 179 of 225 laps and finished 1.015 seconds ahead of Michael Andretti under bright sunshine which belied the 24 hours of rain that delayed the oval-track contest from its original Sunday start.

With a new aerodynamic wing package mandated by CART this year for short ovals, the field of 23 competitors experienced difficulty with turbulence; hence passing was minimal throughout the race. Tony Kanaan, driving the Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes, was the top finisher for Mercedes-Benz in 10th place.

"I had a well-balanced car today, especially in the early part of the race. But as the wind picked up, the rear end kept getting lighter, and you just couldn't put your foot in the throttle coming out of the turns. Running by yourself, it was okay, but in traffic, you just couldn't get around anybody. It was frustrating. I gained some positions by really pushing it on cold tires coming out of the pits. Otherwise, there was nothing you could do."

Mauricio Gugelmin, coming off an impressive second-place finish at Nazareth last weekend, had a fast car in practice sessions, and topped the time sheets in the warm up. Starting from eighth position, the PacWest Nextel Mercedes driver aimed to save fuel and use his well-balanced race car to slash to the front in the closing segment of the contest. But on his second pit stop, Gugelmin slid into the left front tire in his pit box, losing valuable time. Exiting the pit, leader Montoya got by him, putting Gugelmin a lap down. When the yellow flag then came out on lap 184 for Tarso Marques' crash, the leaders * who were low on fuel at that point * had enough methanol to last until the checkered flag. With these circumstances, Gugelmin was denied a competitive finish.

"I saved so much fuel and did everything right," said a frustrated Gugelmin. "It just didn't work out. That yellow flag screwed me up. Without that yellow, those guys would have needed a splash of fuel, while my Mercedes was making such great mileage that I could have kept on going."

Mark Blundell raced as high as fourth position in his PacWest Motorola Mercedes with an out-of-sequence pit strategy, and finished 17th. Michel Jourdain Jr. was 18th in his Herdez/Bettenhausen Mercedes, while Luiz Garcia Jr. (Arciero Hollywood Mercedes) retired on lap 115 with an oil leak and was 21st.

The FedEx Championship Series heads to Detroit, Mich., for the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit on June 18 (ESPN, 1:00 p.m. ET).

<pre> Results, Miller Lite 225 West Allis, Wis. June 5, 2000

Pos.    Driver                  Engine          Laps    
1       Juan Montoya            Toyota          225     
2       Michael Andretti        Ford Cosworth   225     
3       Patrick Carpentier      Ford Cosworth   225     
4       Kenny Brack             Ford Cosworth   225     
5       Roberto Moreno          Ford Cosworth   225     
6       Dario Franchitti        Honda           225     
7       Max Papis               Ford Cosworth   225     
8       Adrian Fernandez        Ford Cosworth   225     
9       Christian Fittipaldi    Ford Cosworth   225     
10      Tony Kanaan             Mercedes-Benz   225     
11      Mauricio Gugelmin       Mercedes-Benz   224     
17      Mark Blundell           Mercedes-Benz   224     
18      Michel Jourdain Jr.     Mercedes-Benz   224     
21      Luiz Garcia Jr.         Mercedes-Benz   115     

Driver's Championship Manufacturer's Championship

Paul Tracy              59                              Ford Cosworth           104                                                             
Roberto Moreno          52                              Honda                    96
Jimmy Vasser            48                              Toyota                   92
Juan Montoya            44                              Mercedes-Benz            34                                                             Toyota                    
Michael Andretti        44

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Kenny Brack , Mark Blundell , Michel Jourdain , Luiz Garcia Jr. , Mo Nunn