PKV Racing Pilots Finish 12th and 17th in Denver DENVER (August 15, 2004) -- Today's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver proved to be a trying day for the PKV Racing duo of Mexican rookie Roberto Gonzalez ( ...
PKV Racing Pilots Finish 12th and 17th in Denver
DENVER (August 15, 2004) -- Today's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver proved to be a trying day for the PKV Racing duo of Mexican rookie Roberto Gonzalez (#21 Nextel Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone) and American 1996 Champ Car titlewinner Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) as the two pilots finished 12th and 17th, respectively, in front of a Mile High crowd blanketed by sunshine and treated to Champ Car action at it's finest on the redesigned 1.657-mile street circuit.
Vasser made his all-time Champ Car record-tying 192nd consecutive start from the 12th position, but had a day most would like to forget after a promising start to the weekend (qualified sixth Friday) went south.
"At the end, the engine just started misfiring a bit," said Vasser, who stands ninth in the championship with 131 markers. "We're disappointed, obviously. We qualified the Gulfstream car sixth on Friday and woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty good. But from there it was all down hill for some reason. I'd really like to thank Centrix Financial for putting on such a spectacular event. The grandstands were full, and this has really blossomed into a first class street race in downtown Denver.
"[On tying Al Unser Jr.'s all-time Champ Car record with his 192nd consecutive start] Anytime you get mentioned in the same breath as Al Unser Jr. is something to be proud of. I just wish I could have been as fast as Al Unser Jr. today, and been a little more competitive."
PKV teammate Gonzalez proved to make the most out of a difficult situation, as the 90-lap sprint saw him move up six positions on the opening lap from his 18th place starting position, and endure a clutch problem to finish 12th.
"It was a very tough race-- probably the toughest race I've had so far this season," said Gonzalez. "We thought after an encouraging morning session that things were looking up with the Nextel car, but when the command was given to start engines, I lost the clutch. I was trying my best, driving hard and fighting for every position, but we blew a tire in the process. I think in the end it cost us three positions, so it's frustrating. The PKV Racing guys did a fantastic job on the stops, but it's very difficult when you have to rely on them to push-start the car out of pit lane."
Next up for PKV Racing is the 2.709-mile permanent road course at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 29th (Spike TV, 4:00 pm ET/PT) for Round 10 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford, the Molson Indy Montreal.