Roberto Guerrero

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Last updated: 7-April-2002


Biography

Before Formula One Formula One After Formula One

Before F1
1972-77

Follows in fathers footsteps, starting karting with success

One of the unique things about the Juan-Pablo Montoya phenomenon sweeping F1 at the moment is the fact that he's a Colombian, and that not many F1 drivers have come from that particular country. If you don't count the infamous Ricardo Londono, then JPM is only the second Colombian to race in F1. Here is the story of the first, that of Roberto Jose Guerrero Isaza from Medellin, the son of an Olympic cyclist father, who himself had first gone karting when he was 10.

Roberto followed in his father's footsteps, and he took to the track at age 12. He was immediately a success, winning two national kart championships in Colombia over his five years racing there from 1972 to 1976, and coming 3rd in the 1975 Pan American karting championship. From there it was off to Europe in 1977, attending North Worcester College in England while learning his craft at the well-known Jim Russell Driving School, where he won 5 of the 6 school races and came 2nd in the other!

1978-80

Top showing in British F3, with 5 victories in Argo Toyota

1978 saw his talent make its mark, coming 5th overall in British Formula Ford 1600, winning eight races. A move up to F3 for 1979 saw him race in both the British and the European series; in Britain he drove the unfashionable Anglia Cars Argo JM3 Toyota to 15 points and equal 9th overall, just ahead of Eddie Jordan, but in the European championship he found the going tougher, and with only two points Roberto was placed equal 25th in the final positions.

Wisely, Guerrero opted to concentrate on British F3 in 1980, although he was still saddled with the works Argo JM6 Toyota which was not the car to have. Nonetheless, he muscled it to five comprehensive victories at Thruxton (twice), Cadwell Park, Brands Hatch and Oulton Park, and with 95 points he was equal with Kenny Acheson, and only two behind champ Stefan Johansson. All in all, a remarkable effort.


Roberto scored 16 points in his Maurer-BMW, for 7th overall in 1981 European F2.
Roberto scored 16 points in his Maurer-BMW, for 7th overall in 1981 European F2.

1981

Pilots the Maurer in F2, scores points but can't replicate Thruxton heroics

This led to a drive in European F2 for 1981 with the Mampe-Maurer team, at the wheel of the Maurer MM81-BMW, a car designed by current Toyota F1 designer Gustav Brunner, alongside teammate Eje Elgh. Failing to impress in the first two events, Thruxton was a different story. He won by an astonishing 41 seconds over Ricardo Paletti and future F1 teammate Johnny Cecotto's Minardi.

He never could quite capture this form for the rest of the season, though, and a 6th at Mugello, and 4ths at Enna and Misano gave him 16 points and 7th in the overall standings, 13 points behind teammate Elgh, who was equal 4th, and 35 behind series victor Geoff Lees. But despite it only having been a good but not great first season in F2, it was clear that Guerrero was a driver of not inconsiderable talent, and would one day get to F1. By 1982, that day had come.

Formula One
1982
Ensign

Contract difficulties precursor to so-so start with a DNQ and DNF

His performances, though, had been watched from afar by one Mo Nunn, who snaffled the Colombian up, offering him a drive for 1982 with Ensign in F1. Things were not quite that simple, though, and Nunn was forced to withdraw Guerrero from competition at the season opener in Kyalami when Roberto's F2 boss Maurer filed an injunction. The smoke-screen press release from Nunn stated the withdrawal was because Roberto was "in an inappropriate physical and mental condition to drive".

But contractual issues were worked out between the two parties, and come Brazil, Roberto took to the track. The all new Ensign N181, designed by Nigel Bennett had, all things considered, an OK debut, with Roberto failing to qualify by half a second - but he was still faster than Brian Henton, Derek Warwick and Paletti. Long Beach was kinder, though, and 19th on the grid was a fine effort, merely 2.85 seconds off pole sitter Andrea de Cesaris. Guerrero's race would end just 27 laps in though, when he clunked the wall and retired.


A great effort at Long Beach saw Guerrero take 19th on the grid, after DNQ-ing in Brazil.
A great effort at Long Beach saw Guerrero take 19th on the grid, after DNQ-ing in Brazil.

1982

Avon leave Ensign high and dry in Monaco, but Michelin comes to the rescue

Another failure to qualify followed at Zolder, before disaster struck in Monaco. Their tyre supplier, Avon, withdrew from GP racing just before the weekend, leaving both Ensign and Theodore tyre-less. Guerrero managed to find some old tyres with which to practice on, but he was 1.7 seconds too slow for the grid. For the next GP in Detroit, Michelin had come to the rescue for Ensign, and the improvement was astonishing. Guerrero plonked his Ensign on the sixth row, ahead of Jacques Laffite, Riccardo Patrese, Rene Arnoux and Michele Alboreto.

A tangle with Elio de Angelis just 6 laps into the race, though, left Roberto stationary sideways across the track, and when Patrese's Brabham went off to avoid it and caught fire, the race was red flagged - but Guerrero wasn't present for the restart. A clutch failure saw him retire just 2 laps in in Montreal, and another DNQ followed in Zandvoort (if by just 0.042 secs).

1982

Career best finish in Germany, 2 places off points as money worries grow

Brands Hatch saw another decent qualifying effort, 19th, before engine trouble ended his race. The car had been a monster all weekend, and Nigel Bennett had tried 10 different aerodynamic settings in an effort to fix the problem. Guerrero's topsy-turvy season followed, with another DNQ at Paul Ricard. Hockenheim, though, would give him his F1 career-best finish (and only finish for the season).

In a race famous for Nelson Piquet and Eliseo Salazar's fisticuffs, Roberto would drive well to finish a solid 8th, a lap ahead of Nigel Mansell's Lotus. Driveshaft failure and engine gremlins put him out in Austria and Dijon, as Nunn's team continued to struggle with severe financial difficulties. A first lap bingle at Monza with Derek Daly, Henton and Warwick saw Guerrero have a long pitstop for damage, before touring around the back to finish 12 laps down.


Things got progressively worse for Guerrero and Ensign in 1982, with funding a major source of worry for the team.
Things got progressively worse for Guerrero and Ensign in 1982, with funding a major source of worry for the team.

1982

The supply of Cosworths run out, and a fine 15th on grid comes to nothing

The season ended in Las Vegas, and in disappointment for Ensign. Their cashflow problem had come to a head, yet despite this, a brilliant qualifying performance had seen Guerrero in 15th. However, a blown engine in the warm up meant he couldn't take his place on the grid, as the team was fresh out of Cosworth powerplants. Guerrero was hearbreakingly forced onto the sidelines come Sunday.

As a season ending exercise, he made a trip to the 3hr Daytona, driving a BMW M1 with Diego Montoya, finishing a decent 10th overall. All in all, it was a promising first F1 season for Guerrero, who had demonstrated competitiveness in difficult circumstances.

1983
Theodore

New car sees his teammate shine, including points at Long Beach

It would be more of the same in 1983, when Ensign merged with Theodore and he picked up a new teammate in Venezuelan Johnny Cecotto. The merger would give both teams a little more stability, and it would show. Taking hold of an all new Bennett penned Theodore N183 chassis, Guerrero shone in Brazil, taking a wonderful 14th grid slot, and impressing with 5th fastest in Saturday practice. However, problems struck in the race, and he wasn't classified, being 10 laps down at the end.

Long Beach was a stunning race, with Irish charger John Watson and Austrian Niki Lauda scoring a 1-2 victory for McLaren from an astonishing 22nd and 23rd place on the grid. Guerrero was out-qualified by his inexperienced teammate Cecotto (in just his second F1 race) and when gearbox troubles hit, Roberto retired only to see the Venezuelan take a fine 6th place and a WDC point. Paul Ricard would bring little better: while his teammate, having qualified 5 spots ahead, finished his third race in succession, engine problems sidelined our man after just 23 laps.


1983 saw little improvement in F1 for Roberto. One personal bright spot was a 12th place at Zandvoort, which came when his teammate Cecotto DNQ'd.
1983 saw little improvement in F1 for Roberto. One personal bright spot was a 12th place at Zandvoort, which came when his teammate Cecotto DNQ'd.

1983

Another Monaco tyre disaster as Goodyear trouble hand Theodore DNPQs

Another DNF followed at Imola, this time a clash with Yank Danny Sullivan ended his race before another Monaco debacle. The same as the previous year, when tyre trouble has ruined Guerrero's Ensign's chances, this time a lack of available Goodyear tyres meant that both Roberto and Cecotto couldn't make the grid (given the limited grid spots available in Monte Carlo, pre-qualifying was being used, and so both Theodores racked up a DNPQ). But Guerrero's memories of Monaco can't be all that bad, though, as it was in the Principality that he met his future wife, Katie!

As the field retuned to Spa for the first time in 13 years, Guerrero put the car 14th on the grid, 11 spots ahead of Cecotto - but engine gremlins cut his race short. More heroics followed in Detroit, where he recorded the 11th fastest time in qualifying, a full 4 seconds quicker than Cecotto. But, as always, technical problems hit, resulting in a finish a massive 22 laps down, not classified.

1983

Asserts his place as team leader, just as the team resources run out

Yet more engine problems struck Guerrero in Canada, and his season's first classified finish came as a lowly 16th place at Silverstone, when Cecotto failed even to qualify; it was something of an up and down year for Theodore. The useless Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 litre V8 engine gave up the ghost again at Hockenheim (this time on the very first lap), and when gearbox failure stranded him on lap 24 in Austria, Guerrero had only one classified finish in 11 races. Now consistently overshadowing Cecotto, he took a 12th place at Zandvoort (Johnny DNQ'd), and 13th place at Monza.

Again money worries were starting to show, and so Theodore ran just a single car at Brands Hatch. At least Roberto managed to at least finish what would turn out to be his last F1 race. He came home in 12th place, but he was just 1 lap behind the leaders. With the kitty now well and truly empty, Theodore decided not to venture to South Africa for the final race, in which Nelson Piquet clinched the Drivers Championship. Indeed, it was curtains for Theodore, which failed to make it back into F1 the following year.


Guerrero leads Danny Sullivan's Tyrrell at Monza. He would come 13th, in what would be his second-last F1 race.
Guerrero leads Danny Sullivan's Tyrrell at Monza. He would come 13th, in what would be his second-last F1 race.

After F1
1984

Guerrero takes CART Rookie of the Year, and 2nd in the Indy 500

From there, the two Theodore pilots took dramatically different career paths. While Cecotto stayed on in F1, picking up a drive alongside the hot new talent Ayrton Senna, and later became a touring car expert, Roberto took off across the Atlantic. There, driving for Dan Cotter in the Bignotti-Cotter team in a March 84C Cosworth, he made a startling impact on the CART racing scene, competing in all 16 CART PPG events on his way to 11th overall with 52 points, winning the Vandervell Rookie of the Year award.

His speed in itself was impressive; five times he qualified in the top 5. More than that, he consistently brought the car home, coming 5th at Michigan, 6th at Las Vegas and 7th at Laguna Seca. But it was in the legendary Indy 500 that he really made his mark, qualifying 7th and finishing second to Rick Mears, in the best rookie performance at Indy since Graham Hill in 1966 - and earning him co-Rookie of the Year honours with Michael Andretti.

1985-86

Plenty of top-5 finishes, but disaster in Miami as Al, Jr. take the win

Cotter wisely kept him on for 1985, and after another brief foray into IMSA, where he drove a March 85G Buick with Jan Lammers to 9th in the Miami 3hrs, he completed another season in CART in a new March 85C Cosworth, although he dropped to 17th overall with 34 points. Again he was fast in qualifying, but good race results often eluded him, 4th at Laguna Seca and 3rd at Indy, where he was on the lead lap, being his best. Still, it was a year to remember because during it Guerrero's first son, Marco, was born!

A much-improved year in 1986 followed, where Cotter gave him a new 86C to use. A 4th at the brickyard gave him the best first three starts in the 500 since 1949, and after that he recorded 4ths at Meadowlands and Road America and 2nd at Mid-Ohio. But at Tamiami Park in Miami, he started from pole and led all the way until the last lap when tragically he ran out of fuel, allowing Al Unser Jr to steal the win. 2nd in that race was scant reward, and with 87 points, Roberto ended the season in 9th overall.


1984 was a great year for Roberto - he was CART and Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. Here he pilots his March 84C at Long Beach.
1984 was a great year for Roberto - he was CART and Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. Here he pilots his March 84C at Long Beach.

1987

Storming win in Phoenix followed by heartbreak at Indy with final stop stall

After one final start in IMSA at the start of 1987, when he retired at Miami with Emerson Fittipaldi in a Zakspeed USA Ford Mustang Probe, Guerrero was ready to attack the 1987 CART season. He had moved to Vince Granatelli's team, and armed with a March 87C Cosworth, he started 2nd in Long Beach, and then took pole at Phoenix, only to be relegated to the back of the grid because his car was underweight. Undeterred, he stormed through the field to record a sensational first CART victory.

Confident going into the Indy 500, he was leading the race come his final pit stop with an easy victory in sight. But heartbreakingly, his clutch pedal (damaged from earlier contact with Tony Bettenhausen) caught him out, and he stalled - allowing Al Unser Sr through to win as Guerrero came in 2nd. Four starts at Indy, and a 2-3-4-2 finishing record had put his name on the lips of the CART fraternity, and it looked like a win in the 500 sometime in the future was not a question of 'if', but 'when'.

1987-88

Stunning comeback from 17-day coma as Guerrero take 2nd for Mo Nunn

Roberto's brilliant streak continued throughout 1987. After Indy, in succession he took poles at Milwaukee and Portland, started 4th at Meadowlands, finished 5th from pole at Cleveland, took 4th from 2nd at Toronto, retired at Michigan, came 3rd from 4th at Pocono and 7th from 2nd at Road America, before a commanding win from pole at Mid-Ohio. But it all came undone in a testing smash at turn 2 at Indianapolis, in which his right front tyre hit him in the head, leaving him severely injured. His 1987 was over.

In a coma for 17 days, Guerrero ended up 4th overall with 106 points, but just saving his life became of primary importance. Concentrated therapy and an iron will saw Roberto not only fully recover, but return to the track again the following year. Granatelli gave him a Lola T88/00 Chevrolet to drive for 1988, and also Mo Nunn to work with once again. In an amazing first comeback drive at Phoenix, Roberto not only started 2nd, but finished in that spot as well.


Moving to Vince Granatelli's team for 1987, Guerrero had another good year, taking 2nd on the grid at Long Beach en route to 4th overall for the season.
Moving to Vince Granatelli's team for 1987, Guerrero had another good year, taking 2nd on the grid at Long Beach en route to 4th overall for the season.

1988-89

Indy failure starts horror run of two forgetful years

Sadly, it was a false dawn. Roberto was no longer as consistently fast as he used to be, and after being taken out on the first lap at Indy by Scott Brayton, he mixed good outings such as 3rd at Pocono and 6th at Nazareth with shockers like a DNQ at Milwaukee. He even took some races off when his form dropped, and he finished the year in equal 12th with 40 points. Needing a change of atmosphere, by 1989 he had moved to Alex Morales Motorsports, which would be developing the new Alfa Romeo V8 engine.

It proved to be something of a disastrous move. Guerrero and Bruno Giacomelli tested the engine relentlessly, but it was too late for the start of the season. In fact, the team even sat out Indy, and contractually Guerrero wasn't allowed to drive for anyone else there, even though the Truesports team wanted him. And when the March 89CE Alfa Romeo was ready, it was unreliable and slow. Roberto could only drag it to 8th at Detroit and 12th at Mid-Ohio, scoring 6 points only for equal 22nd in the standings.

1990-91

Things look up with Patrick's March-Alfa; fails to score a point a year later

1990 was only marginally better. The Colombian joined the Pat Patrick's team which took up the Alfa project, coupling the Italian V8 to a March 90CA chassis. Suspension failure put him out of the Indy 500, but after a fortunate 5th at Michigan and an 8th at Portland, the team dumped the March in favour of a Lola T90/00. Instantly the package was more competitive, as evidenced by Guerrero coming 8th at Road America and 9th at Nazareth, which boosted him up to 16th overall with 24 points.

To show how fickle motorsport is, after a few poor seasons Guerrero had suddenly become a forgotten man. Having become a naturalised US citizen, in 1991 he only had 5 starts here and there. He drove the Patrick Lola T91/00 Alfa Romeo at Indy but crashed, and thereafter had three races in Kenny Bernstein's Lola T91/00 Buick, and also one for the Fendi team in a Lola T91/00 Cosworth. But with 15th at Detroit in the Bernstein car being his best result, for the first time in his CART career he failed to score a point.


1989 was a dismal year for Roberto. His Alfa Romeo engines were no use, he missed out on the Indy 500 and scored just a paltry 6 points all season.
1989 was a dismal year for Roberto. His Alfa Romeo engines were no use, he missed out on the Indy 500 and scored just a paltry 6 points all season.

1992

Sensational comeback at Indy, but he crashes on warm-up lap from pole position!

In terms of a full-time drive, Guerrero had nothing for 1992. But Bernstein brought him back firstly for the Long Beach race, where he drove the old T91/00 Buick, before giving him a new T92/00 for the Indy 500. Guerrero responded, stunning the rest by taking pole with a track-record average speed of 232.482 mph (374.133 kmh) in his Quaker State-sponsored car. But come race day, a cold snap had hit, and with temperatures below 10º Celsius, everyone found it hard to warm up their slicks.

Roberto was one of those caught out. Leading the pack for its second parade lap, he hit the accelerator coming out of turn 2. His cold tyres snapped the car left and pitched him into the back straight infield wall. Guerrero joined Cliff Woodbury from 1929 and Pancho Carter from 1985 as the only three to humiliatingly finish last from pole at Indy. "I'm disappointed beyond belief," said Guerrero later. "I thought I was in a nightmare, but I never woke up." The single point for pole left him 36th in the 1992 CART championship.

1993-94

30-odd points gave him an unlucky 13 starts, before another crash at Indy!

That was it as far as 1992 was concerned, but the Budweiser King Racing team gave him another chance, offering him a full-time drive for 1993 in a Lola T93/07 Chevrolet. He didn't do too badly, coming 4th at New Hampshire, 5th at Long Beach and 7th at Milwaukee and Michigan, although he had two pit speed violations and tangled with Jeff Andretti's Interstate-sponsored car at Indianapolis. But after 13 starts, the team dropped him, and by season's end he was classified 14th with 39 points.

Come 1994, Guerrero was out of a drive again, until Pagan Racing threw him a lifeline for the Indy 500. Ironically, he would now be driving the Interstate car, and furthermore, it was the very same Lola T92/00 Buick that he had put on pole and then crashed in 1992! The omens were bad right from the start, and so it proved, Guerrero spinning in the early stages and clipping the wall, enough to put him out of the race as the first retirement.


Guerrero (in car 36) on a brilliant pole position for the 1992 Indianapolis 500. But moments later he famously spun the car, crashed and was out - before the race even started!
Guerrero (in car 36) on a brilliant pole position for the 1992 Indianapolis 500. But moments later he famously spun the car, crashed and was out - before the race even started!

1995

Pagan association the beginning of a beautiful friendship

This gave retirement him some unwanted Indianapolis 500 records. He has the most consecutive crashes there with four, 91-94 (shared with Tom Sneva 85-88), as well as the most times completing zero laps (two, shared with Salt Walther from 1972-73). Nevertheless, he had impressed Jack and Allan Pagan with his professionalism so much, they formed a firm partnership which would last another 4 years. At the time Allan said: "I've told Roberto that as long as I've got a seat he's got a ride."

They targeted the brickyard for 1995 again, running a shakedown at Phoenix where he came 16th, as preparation. But when they got to Indy, driving a Reynard 941 Mercedes, all in all an ignominious performance - he lay 12th at the end, 2 laps down, scoring one point in the CART championship which left him equal 32nd at season's end. Whilst still well-regarded as a potent driver at Indianapolis (even if not a potential race-winner any more), there seemed to be little future for him in the full CART series though.

1996-97

IRL a godsend, with lots of points and a 5th at Indy, he best there for 10 years

The introduction of Tony George's Indy Racing League in 1996 therefore came as a godsend to both Guerrero and Pagan Racing. Pagan entered Roberto for a full season in a Reynard 941 Ford, and Guerrero repaid the faith by coming 4th at Las Vegas, and 5th at Walt Disney World. He also posted his best finish at Indy since 1987, leading the race for 47 laps and being classified 5th despite crashing on the very last corner, taking Alessandro Zampedri and Eliseo Salazar with him!

The overly generous points system meant Guerrero accrued 237 points and came a fine equal 4th. But for 1997, the IRL adopted new-spec normally-aspirated cars, and Pagan won the famous Pennzoil sponsorship for their Dallara with the Nissan Infiniti engine. Roberto came 7th at Phoenix and 13th at Texas, but it was clear that the Infiniti was no match for the Oldsmobile Aurora engine, so the change was made. He then came 6th at New Hampshire to justify the decision, and with 221 points was 7th overall.


In the third year of his partnership with Pagan Racing, Guerrero burns some rubber at the 1997 Indy 500. He ran as high as 11th before finishing 27th.
In the third year of his partnership with Pagan Racing, Guerrero burns some rubber at the 1997 Indy 500. He ran as high as 11th before finishing 27th.

1997-99

The musical chairs routine continues for Guerrero, with split from Pagan

However, throughout 1997 Guerrero had had more big crashes, including a barrel-roll at Las Vegas. And so, after 4 poor results early in 1998 in the Pagan Dallara Oldsmobile, including a lowly 22nd at Indy (where Roberto nonetheless won the Scott Brayton Driver's Trophy for competing in the right spirit), Pagan went back on his earlier promise and dumped him, saying, "To say that this was difficult would be a gross understatement, because I consider Roberto to be a friend. It was one of the toughest things we've ever had to do."

After a few months on the sidelines, he was picked up by Price Cobb for four more races to replace Jim Guthrie. But results with Cobb Racing in a G Force with firstly an Oldsmobile and then a Nissan engine were sparse, a 4th at Texas his only top-10 finish for them. 26th overall with 83 points was all he achieved, and in 1999, 3 more starts in the Cobb G Force Nissan netted 13th in Orlando, retirement from engine failure at Indy, only 36 points and 30th overall before the team closed its doors due to finance problems.

2000

Now for something completely different: Roberto joins his brother in NASCAR

Looking for a change, at the start of 2000 Guerrero decided to try NASCAR Busch series, joining his younger brother Jaime Guerrero at the Hispanic Racing Team run by Mike Vazquez and Rudy Rodriguez. But whilst testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway in early April, he did 21 laps before crashing, breaking his right scapula and cracking two ribs. He claimed afterwards: "These stock cars take longer to react to steering than Indy Cars. I was starting to get comfortable when the throttle stuck wide open and it wouldn't turn!"

Undeterred, Guerrero showed up at Indy in 2000 hoping to get a drive, and did a deal with A.J. Foyt's team, but failed to make the grid. Foyt explained: "I just couldn't get him going. Jeff Ward shook the other car down at 220 miles an hour. I knew the car was fast and I kept making adjustments. I finally said, 'Roberto, I don't know what to say!' I really felt bad about having to pull him out, but ... for some reason, my combination didn't fit with his combination."


Roberto's 1999 Indy 500 campaign with Cobb Racing came to an end with engine failure. He had 2 other starts for the team in the IRL that year.
Roberto's 1999 Indy 500 campaign with Cobb Racing came to an end with engine failure. He had 2 other starts for the team in the IRL that year.

2000-01

Picked up again for a ride in Kentucky after Indy set-back

Guerrero had tried both Foyt's G Force Oldsmobile and his Dallara Oldsmobile, but to no avail, and so once again he was out of a drive. He nonetheless made his return to IRL competition though at the inaugural Belterra Resort Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway in August with Team Coulson in a G Force Oldsmobile. But it was a forgettable day, a crack in the engine cooler ending his race after 45 laps, yet earning him 7 points regardless, such that Roberto was still classified 44th in the 2000 IRL standings!

A return to Lowe's for the Busch NASCAR Carquest Auto Parts 300 in mid-2000 saw him DNQ, and so Guerrero eventually decided against a NASCAR career. Thus in 2001, despite feeling fitter than ever having been working out at the Dana Point, California gym he owns called 'The Sweat Shop', he had again been left twiddling his thumbs when he made the trip to Indy once more, helmet in hand, hoping to get a seat. Out of nowhere, he suddenly got a call from legendary team owner Dick Simon.

2001

On the Indy pace with the Dick Simon team, before getting bumped off

Simon's lead driver Stephan Gregoire was having trouble setting up his number 7 Dallara Oldsmobile. In addition, Simon had a G Force Oldsmobile as a back up. Furthermore, upon female racer Lyn St James' sudden retirement from racing, her sponsor Yellow Freight had come on board. So Simon sent Guerrero, clad in St James' uniform, out in the 7 car, and immediately Roberto was on the pace. The team had no choice but to leave him in the lead car for qualifying.

With so little practice, Guerrero recorded an average speed of 220.054 mph which temporarily put him onto the grid. But on 'bump day', the Colombian was one of the unfortunate ones to get knocked off. Ironically Gregoire, who actually switched to the Heritage Motorsports team, was one of those who made it into the race at Roberto's expense. Such is life at the Indy 500! For the second year in a row, Guerrero had failed to qualify at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Things looked promising for a 2001 Guerrero charge in Dick Simon's Oldsmobile, but he was 'bumped off' the Indy grid.
Things looked promising for a 2001 Guerrero charge in Dick Simon's Oldsmobile, but he was 'bumped off' the Indy grid.

Personal

Philospohical racer waits for his next IRL chance (while dreaming of tennis stardom)

No doubt he will probably show up again this year at Indianapolis, hoping to find a ride with someone. Whether or not he still has the speed to mix it with the increasingly competitive (and increasingly respectable) IRL field remains to be seen, though. However, he currently stands 5th in the ranking of the driver with the most Indy 500 starts without a win, on 15. Just 8 more and he will overtake George Snider, although with each passing year further opportunities look more and more unlikely.

Residing now in San Juan Capistrano, Califonia, he currently spends his time with his wife Katie, his children, Marco, Evan Michael and Haley, watching 'Friends' on television, and day-dreaming of being a tennis pro. About his seeming bad luck during his career, which especially saw him lurching from one drama to the next after his 1987 crash, he says: "I don't believe in bad luck. You make your own luck. I mean, I'm healthy, I'm driving a race car, I'm making a good living ... how unlucky could that be?"

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