CHAMPCAR/CART: PacWest Fontana pre-event notes and quotes

What: Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota - Round 21 of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series When: Sunday, November 2. Broadcast: 3:30 p.m. EST on ESPN (Live). Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of practice,...

What: Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota  - Round 21 of the 21-race CART FedEx Championship Series

When: Sunday, November 2. Broadcast: 3:30 p.m. EST on ESPN (Live). Broadcast live on CART Radio Network affiliates. Coverage of practice, qualifying and the race is also live on CART.com. Practice - Friday, November 2.
Where: 2.029-mile superspeedway oval, California Speedway, Fontana, CA

Mauricio Gugelmin Fast Facts
#17 Nextel PacWest Toyota

* Mauricio Gugelmin has enjoyed outstanding success at California Speedway with finishes of fourth in 1997, fifth in 1998 and sixth in1999. He qualified on the pole in '97 with an average speed of 240.942 miles per hour (30.316 seconds), which stood as the fastest lap in auto racing history until broken last season.

* Gugelmin has led at least one lap in all four appearances at California Speedway, including 66 laps in '97, 40 in '98, two in '99 and eight last year.

* This season, Gugelmin has tallied four top-ten finishes, all of which have come since Round Six of the FedEx Championship Series. He earned his fourth career pole in Cleveland this season and finished a season-best seventh in Toronto.

* Gugelmin raced Formula One for five years, 1988-1992, for March-Judd, Leyton House-Judd, and Jordan-Yamaha Formula One teams. Gugelmin's top finishes in Formula One competition included a third place podium finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 1989 with March-Judd and four other top-ten finishes in his five-year F1 career.

* Gugelmin, one of CART's most experienced drivers, is in his ninth year of FedEx Championship Series competition, and eighth full season.

* Mauricio is currently in his second year as President of the Championship Drivers Association.

Mauricio Gugelmin Quote
"This has been a very disappointing year for me and my crew," said Gugelmin. "We came into the season very motivated and confident that we would compete at a higher level than before, especially with the addition of Toyota engines, but good luck just hasn't fallen our way. For some reason I've caught a lot of bad breaks this year and I've had way too many accidents, which is something that I'm really not used to. If I can take anything positive away from this season it's that my Nextel crew have worked very hard in their efforts to provide me with a competitive car every weekend, and for the most part, they've hit that mark. We (my crew and I) will be participating in the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge this weekend and winning that event would mean the world to the guy's. They work very hard all year and I think that sometimes their efforts are taken for granted. Hopefully we can win that competition so my crew can at least walk away from the season with their heads held up high, knowing that they are the fastest crew in the series. As for the race, it's no secret that I really enjoy running on superspeedways and I've had some success in Fontana especially. The speed record that I set in 1997 at Fontana has been broken, but I've managed to lead laps there every year since 1997 so I fully intend to keep that streak alive this weekend. I just want to make sure I lead the last lap. My mentality is to never give up, so I don't intend to just 'show-up' in Fontana. We're going there to race, and to win."

Scott Dixon Fast Facts
#18 Nextel Powerware Panasonic PacWest Toyota

* Scott Dixon enters the Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota as the 2001 CART Rookie of the Year, which he clinched during round 20 in Australia. Dixon is currently in seventh place in the Driver's Championship with 98 points.

* Dixon has completed 2306 of the 2390 laps run this season, the series leader in that category. He also leads the FedEx Championship Series in miles completed with 3,914.982 out of a possible 4,074.603.

* Scott has one victory, six top-fives, and ten top-tens at this point of his rookie campaign. He has also scored championship points in seven of his past ten starts.

* This will be Dixon's first competitive visit to California Speedway in a CHAMP car. In 2000, Dixon won the Dayton Indy Lights Championship with six wins, seven podiums and one pole for PacWest - including his sixth win of the season in Fontana, which enabled him to win the championship.

* Dixon is the youngest-ever winner of a major open-wheel event, scoring a victory earlier this season in Nazareth at the age of 20 years, nine months.

Scott Dixon Quote
"I would like to finish out the season with a solid performance in Fontana," said Dixon. "Last year in Indy Lights I had to win Fontana to clinch the championship, which I did. This year I don't quite have that kind of pressure on my shoulders, but like I've said before, it's still important to finish strong so we can carry that momentum into the winter testing season. We haven't had a good performance on a superspeedway yet this year, so I'm hoping to turn things around this weekend. With Fontana being the last race of the year, I don't have to worry about anything other than going flat-out and trying to win that purse. I enjoy running on the big ovals because it seems to be a battle of attrition and physical endurance. I'm sure my engineers will come up with a good fuel strategy to keep us in the hunt for that final sprint to the finish, but I do need to qualify high to avoid what happened to us in Michigan. If you lose a lap on a superspeedway you're done."

-PacWest-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Mauricio Gugelmin