PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin believes if recent one-mile testing results at the Phoenix International Raceway can be converted next weekend he and teammate Mark Blundell will have the chance to "steal the show" in the Bosch Spark Plug Grand...
PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin believes if recent one-mile testing results at the Phoenix International Raceway can be converted next weekend he and teammate Mark Blundell will have the chance to "steal the show" in the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix at the Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania. Nazareth has never been a happy hunting ground for PacWest Racing, but all that could change next Sunday if recent speeds can be repeated on the challenging 0.946-mile oval.
Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel Pacwest Mercedes-Benz, and Blundell, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz, both struggled with ill-handling cars in the opening round of the FedEx Championship Series in Miami on March 26.
That will be forgotten next weekend as they try and recreate the speed which put them among the fastest during pre-season testing on the 1-mile oval in Phoenix.
MAURICIO GUGELMIN - #17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ
"I am very excited about next weekend," said Gugelmin.
"Our tests on the one-mile oval at Phoenix last month were very encouraging and we certainly have a good base set-up which we can work with.
"The team is much more competitive this year in so many areas, but unfortunately we did not see that in the opening round.
"There were a lot of good teams who came away from Miami without any points and we were among them.
"We are certainly over the disappointment of Miami and we are looking forward to the remaining 19 races of the season.
"We are constantly making progress in every area and I think we are really on the verge of a big result - maybe that will come this week.
"We hope the weather is good to all of us during the weekend and that the local fans can come and out and enjoy some great racing."
MARK BLUNDELL - #18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ
"I would like to finish what we started at Nazareth last season," said Blundell.
"We qualified fifth and ran fourth for a lot of the race before we fell foul of a yellow flag during a pit stop which ruined our race.
"Nazareth is a tough little track and it would be a great reward for all our guys if we could pull off a result next Sunday.
"The driver-engineer relationship is starting to come together - it won't happen overnight - but it is getting stronger and stronger by the day and I am sure we will see that at Nazareth.
"Our testing at Phoenix on the one mile oval was very productive and I think we will be in good shape if we manage to replicate that at Nazareth.
"It is all a game of "wait and see", but there is a chance you will see something special from the Motorola team next weekend."
ROUND 2 - FEDEX CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES - APRIL 9, 2000
Event: Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix, Nazareth Speedway, Pennsylvania
Defending Champion: Juan Montoya; Defending Pole Sitter: Juan Montoya
Best Finish: Mauricio Gugelmin 9th (1997)
Best Qualifying: Mauricio Gugelmin 5th (1997); Mark Blundell 5th (1999)
Mark Blundell: Qualified 5th - Finished 17th
Mauricio Gugelmin: Qualified 15th - Finished 18th