1997 Marlboro 500

The 1997 Marlboro 500 was the 17th and last round of the 1997 CART season. It happened on September 28, 1997, at the then brand-new California Speedway.

United States 1997 Fontana
Race details
Race 17 of 17 in the 1997 CART season
Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) - Speedway.svg
DateSeptember 28, 1997
Official nameMarlboro 500
LocationCalifornia Speedway
2.029 mi / 3.265 km
Distance250 laps
507.250 mi / 816.340 km
WeatherTemperatures reaching up to 100.4 °F (38.0 °C); wind speeds up to 10.2 miles per hour (16.4 km/h)[1]
Pole position
DriverMaurício Gugelmin (PacWest Racing)
Fastest lap
DriverGreg Moore (Forsythe Racing)
Time30.900 (on lap 83 of 250)
FirstMark Blundell (PacWest Racing)
SecondJimmy Vasser (Chip Ganassi Racing)
ThirdAdrian Fernández (Tasman Motorsports)


Brazilian PacWest Racing driver Maurício Gugelmin set the pole with 240.942 mph (387.759 km).


Before the startEdit

All American Racers's Juan Manuel Fangio II did not start the race due a fire on the back of his car. 1st caution even before the start.

Lap 10 - Lap 52Edit

Chip Ganassi Racing Dutch driver Arie Luyendyk, who was replacing series champion Alex Zanardi, had a pit problem, his car was on fire, but he was able to remain in the race. The restart came out at lap 12. But one lap later, Paul Tracy had a serious crash at turn 4. The 2nd caution came out. It was Tracy's 6th DNF in the season. At lap 14, the top 6 was: Maurício Gugelmin, Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Michel Jourdain Jr., Michael Andretti and Mark Blundell. Restart came out at lap 23. At lap 40, German driver Arnd Meier spun at turn 4. Arie Luyendyk couldn't avoid him and Arie hit Arnd car. Both drivers suffered slight injuries. At lap 47, Al Unser Jr. had a pit problem, just like Arie had laps before. He retired. Restart came out at lap 52, with Andretti leading the field.

Lap 59 - Lap 106Edit

The top 6 at lap 59 was: Michael Andretti, Maurício Gugelmin, Jimmy Vasser, André Ribeiro, Mark Blundell and Greg Moore. After pitstops, Ribeiro leads on lap 90. After 106 laps, Michael Andretti retired.

Lap 119 - 133Edit

4th caution came out at lap 119 because of debris. Restart came out at lap 126. At lap 133, the top 6 was: André Ribeiro, Gil de Ferran, Adrian Fernández, Jimmy Vasser, Greg Moore and Mark Blundell.

Closing stages: 98 laps to go until the finishEdit

With 98 laps to go, Adrian Fernandez stalled in the pits, but kept the engine running, and remained in the race. With 47 laps to go, André Ribeiro's car was out of fuel, but he went to the pits, crawling his car to his pit area. He came back to the track in 6th, 1 lap behind. But 5 laps later, Ribeiro suffered a bad crash at turn 2 and stopped after crashing in the infield wall. He walked away. 5th caution. With 35 laps to go, Maurício Gugelmin takes the lead, as the restart came out. With 32 laps to go the top 10 was: Maurício Gugelmin, Gil de Ferran, Jimmy Vasser, Greg Moore, Mark Blundell, Bobby Rahal, Adrian Fernandez, Christian Fittipaldi, Scott Pruett and Robby Gordon. With 19 laps to go, Gugelmin had tyre problems, and the new leader was Greg Moore, but 8 laps later, Greg Moore had flames on the back of his car. Jimmy Vasser thought the yellow flag was out, but only thought, as Mark Blundell took the lead. Blundell won for the last time in CART. Jimmy Vasser finished second.

Final ResultsEdit

  1. Mark Blundell
  2. Jimmy Vasser
  3. Adrian Fernández
  4. Maurício Gugelmin
  5. Bobby Rahal
  6. Gil de Ferran
  7. Scott Pruett
  8. Robby Gordon
  9. Christian Fittipaldi
  10. P. J. Jones
  11. Parker Johnstone
  12. Max Papis

Point StandingsEdit

  1. Alex Zanardi 195 points
  2. Gil de Ferran 162 points
  3. Jimmy Vasser 144 points
  4. Maurício Gugelmin 132 points
  5. Paul Tracy 121 points
  6. Mark Blundell 115 points
  7. Greg Moore 111 points
  8. Michael Andretti 108 points
  9. Scott Pruett 102 points
  10. Raul Boesel 91 points
  11. Bryan Herta 72 points
  12. Bobby Rahal 70 points

Rookie of the Year standingsEdit

  1. Patrick Carpentier 27 points
  2. Gualter Salles 10 points
  3. Dario Franchitti 10 points
  4. Arnd Meier 1 point


  1. Last win - Mark Blundell
  2. Fastest lap - Greg Moore: 30.900 seconds
  3. Last Race for Penske Racing - Paul Tracy
  4. Last Race - Arie Luyendyk, Parker Johnstone, Juan Manuel Fangio II
  5. Alex Zanardi was replaced by Arie Luyendyk after two bad crashes on free practice. Rookie of the year, Patrick Carpentier also did not start.
  6. Robby Gordon replaced Dario Franchitti in this race.


  1. ^ "1997 Marlboro 500 weather information". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2013-07-13.