CHAMPCAR/CART: PacWest runs out of luck at Houston

(Houston, Texas) --. The ordinary luck which plagued PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell in the lead-up to the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston continued in the race today. Mark Blundell, driver of the ...

(Houston, Texas) --. The ordinary luck which plagued PacWest Racing's Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell in the lead-up to the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston continued in the race today.

Mark Blundell, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Mercedes-Benz, made it through to lap 50 when leaking clutch oil made it impossible to keep his feet on the pedals and he was forced to withdraw.

Blundell made an unscheduled pit stop to try and soak-up all the fluid, but lasted only one more lap after rejoining the race.

Gugelmin, driver of the #17 Nextel PacWest Mercedes-Benz, was hit by Tony Kanaan at turn three on lap 44 and damaged the front right suspension enough to put him out of the race.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Jimmy Vasser and Juan Montoya finished 1-2. ahead of Gil de Ferran and Paul Tracy De Ferran now leads the title . chase with 153 points ahead of Tracy (134), Roberto Moreno (131) and . Michael Andretti (127) -- who finished out of the points today, two . laps down .

MARK BLUNDELL - # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 20th

"My car was really loose all day," said Blundell.

"Clutch fluid leaked everywhere around my feet so I came in and my crew made an attempt to dry it up. I was able to go out and run one more lap, but I could not keep my feet on the pedals. I can't drive like that, no one can."

MAURICIO GUGELMIN - # 17 NEXTEL PACWEST MERCEDES-BENZ -- 23rd

"We had brake problems early, but they got better the more we ran," said Gugelmin.

"We decided to quit trying to preserve fuel and went for it.

"Tony (Kanaan) came out of the pits on cold tires, just as I was going to the inside at turn three and he closed the door on me and we touched.

"We did some damage to the suspension which we simply could not repair and that was my day."

TOP 12: 1: Jimmy Vasser; 2: Juan Montoya; 3: Gil de Ferran; 4: Paul Tracy; 5: Helio Castroneves; 6: Christian Fittipaldi; 7: Adrian Fernandez; 8: Shinji Nakano; 9: Oriol Servia; 10: Tony Kanaan; 11: Roberto Moreno; 12: Alex Barron.

Championship points: 1: Gil de Ferran 153; 2: Paul Tracy 134; 3: Roberto Moreno 131; 4: Michael Andretti 127; 5: Adrian Fernandez 127; 6: Juan Montoya 122; 7: Kenny Brack 118; 8: Helio Castroneves 117; 9: Jimmy Vasser 117; 10: Cristiano da Matta 100.

-- For further information, please call: BRETT "CRUSHER" MURRAY - (317) 714-7272 TOM HOLLETT - (317) -714-6377

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Tony Kanaan , Mauricio Gugelmin , Oriol Servia , Shinji Nakano , Kenny Brack , Mark Blundell , Alex Barron , Chip Ganassi , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing