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The Callahan Report: Gugelmin Gets Second Career Pole

17 August 1997

ELKHART LAKE, WI: We've all heard of "Big Mo". It doesn't mean momentum. In the Championship Auto Racing Teams racing circuit it means Mauricio Gugelmin. It is a name sports announcers and fans will be getting used to. (As for those sports announcers, it is pronounced GOO-jell-men). Big Mo won his second pole position of the year today and the 4 mile circuit in rural Wisconsin. Gugelmin set the quick time yesterday under perfect conditions. No driver could come close to his mark today as weather kept the speeds down.

Gugelmin's first pole came in his home country of Brazil earlier this year. It is his fifth front row start of the year. The amiable Brazilian has an average starting position of 4.3 which is higher than any other driver this season.

[ Mauricio Gugelmin
] Mauricio Gugelmin

Gugelmin is still searching for his first victory. He has led several races this year. His biggest shot came in Detroit earlier this year as he ran out of fuel while leading the race on the last lap.

Big Mo has no concerns about the racing weather tomorrow. CART runs races in the rain on road courses such as Elkhart Lake. Gugelmin is obviously fast on dry tracks. He is a talented wet racer as well. Gugelmin finished a strong sixth at Portland earlier this year in the rain.

Englishman Mark Blundell made it an all Pac West Team front row. Blundell, who has already won two races this year, qualified in yesterday's "good weather" running.

Series points leader Alex Zanardi is also running up front at the Road America course. Zanardi will start on the inside of the second row. He will be joined by Hogan driver, Dario Franchitti. Zanardi will remain the points leader even after tomorrow's race. He holds a 27 point lead over Penske driver, Paul Tracy. The most points a driver can score in a CART race is 22 (1 for the pole, 1 for the most laps led, and 20 for a victory). Tracy qualified 15th for the race.

Terry Callahan -- The Auto Channel