CHAMPCAR/CART: PacWest Michigan Friday practice notes

(Brooklyn, Mi) -- PacWest Racing's Mark Blundell successfully battled a splitting headache to put his ...

(Brooklyn, Mi) -- PacWest Racing's Mark Blundell successfully battled a splitting headache to put his #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz in the top 10 during practice for this weekend's Michigan 500 at the Michigan Speedway today.

Blundell, who is one of seven former 500-mile race winners in the field, bumped his head on the corner of an air conditioning box on the end of the team's hospitality trailer just 30 minutes before the final practice session of the day began for the 11th round of the FedEx Championship Series.

The wound required one stitch to stop the bleeding, which was inserted by CART's Dr Steve Olvey just minutes before the session began. Despite the pain, Blundell managed a time of 31.036 seconds at an average speed of 231.974mph.

Mauricio Gugelmin, driver of the number #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, clocked a time of 31.214 seconds at 230.166mph in the morning session, but lasted only 15 laps in the afternoon because of a mechanical problem.

MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 10th
Practice: 31.038s (231.974mph)

"We had a much better run in the afternoon than we did in the morning," said Blundell.

"My engineers gave me a better set-up and we managed to do a reasonable time early in the session. We did a full run and everything was good except for the fact that we were battling some under steer, which is never a good thing on a super speedway.

"Obviously I had some pain after banging my head, but the headache got worse and worse as we went through the session because of the pressure of my helmet on the stitched area.

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 14th
Practice: 31.214s (230.666mph)

"This morning we really worked a lot on the set-up of the car, although we were battling a little push," said Gugelmin.

"My crew worked hard to correct this and we finished the session happy with our progress. This afternoon my car felt pretty decent and we did few changes.

"A mechanical problem ended our day, but nothing we cannot rectify and prepare for a solid qualifying run tomorrow."

PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING TOP TEN: 1: Paul Tracy 30.412 seconds (236.749mph); 2: Michael Andretti 30.576s (235.479mph); 3: Helio Castroneves 30.592s (235.356mph); 4: Juan Montoya 30.624s (235.110mph); 5: Dario Franchitti 30.749s (234.154mph); 6: Christian Fittipaldi 30.874s (233.206mph); 7: Kenny Brack 30.907s (232.957mph); 8: Gil de Ferran 30.960s (232.558mph); 9: Max Papis 30.974s (232.453mph); 10: Mark Blundell 31.038s (231.974mph).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Mauricio Gugelmin , Kenny Brack , Mark Blundell