CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Top three finishers press conference, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q: A.J., I doubt that your team mentioned anything to you, but Paul Tracy had a potential fuel pickup problem where he might not have been getting the last five gallons out of the tank. I don't suppose you were told ...

Continued from part 1

Q: A.J., I doubt that your team mentioned anything to you, but Paul Tracy had a potential fuel pickup problem where he might not have been getting the last five gallons out of the tank. I don't suppose you were told anything about that. You had no concerns, right?

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: No. If they would have told me that, that would have freaked the hell out of me. We use the same settings on my car.

No, I mean, I just -- from basically once we pitted and got back out in the lead after Bruno stopped, I just asked my engineer, just keep me updated on the lap times, whoever was second, was running so I could pace myself and run those. This track was so difficult. Obviously it was hard on the tires. In case a yellow came out, I wanted to have some tires left. I just kind of kept me in that. I just prayed to God for no yellows.

Q: Bruno, could you talk about the first part of the race where you went forever on one tank of fuel it seemed, what your feel strategy was in the early part of the race.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: The early part of the race, I was doing a mileage I couldn't believe. I never see the Ford-Cosworth doing that kind of mileage. For sure the altitude and less boost help here. But I cannot tell you guys, they said I was doing like --

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Give us a number. What were we doing?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I was really good mileage. Actually, in the end, when I got the lead, I had to go as fast as I could to try to get a lead. But I think everybody, as well, they stop early. They didn't do a full stint because their tires was going off. My tires were going off, as well. I said, Leave me up here, I can hang around.

So it was really hard to drive on the red tires in a very loose car. I had to do it. That was it mostly part of the race. Running high 62's was like unbelievable on reds in the end. At the end, when I pit, I just came out behind P.T. and Justin. Was just a trade -- actually, Tracy was behind me before the stop, Justin ahead of me. Maybe I lost a spot, but I got it back later.

ERIC MAUK: The results are official. There will be no changes in our finishing order today.

Q: A.J., could you talk about the ride you've been on with Forsythe, you hadn't won until you got there.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Thanks for reminding me. That's good (laughter).

Q: You won four races out of six.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Yeah, I mean, it's a credit to actually the whole Forsythe Indeck team. Between my crew and my engineering staff, they just give me a real solid car every weekend. You know, at times we may not have the best car but they always give me a good enough car to at least be there, have a chance at the podium.

When you're near the podium or you're running on the podium consistently, you can get lucky or you can time it out right. I think probably Sebastien still at the end had the car to beat. It's just a credit to my team making the right calls at the right time and me pushing as hard as I had to at the right time. You know, you get confidence in yourself and the team gets confidence. Whether you're doing anything different at that point, it just seems a little bit easier because confidence is just such a huge part of this game that we're in.

Q: Why do you think the reds went bad like they did?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: To make the race more exciting (laughter). I pass like three or four cars. Was very exciting because the tires are going off.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Who was it exciting for? You should have seen my car in the first stint. That wasn't exciting at all.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Neither for me. I think it was exciting for everybody but the drivers. I have to tell, this is one of the easiest track, the easiest track of the year to make a mistake because you don't have downforce and the car slides a lot. The regular tires, on the reds going north was so easy to put a wheel wrong, very, very easy. You had to drive like sideways all the time, like a go-kart, braking here, do the corners.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: 800-horsepower go-kart, it's exciting.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I think that make the race exciting. But I hope next year the reds going to be a little bit better.

Q: Obviously this is one of the few weekends this year that CTE Racing, HVM struggled. You know, came through in the end. Did the car actually improve or were you just smart on tactics?

DAN CLARKE: Yeah, by the time of warm-up, we'd kind of given up trying to get ultimate speed out of the car. You have to think about the race. There's a few other variables you don't contend with until that point. Then by the time you do 97 laps in a race, eventually you're going to figure out the way you have to drive this thing around. Like Bruno said, the reds, they went away at the end. In the beginning 10 laps or something like that for me, it just sucked. The engineer all the time is telling me, everybody is suffering the same, don't worry. I could see cars driving away from me. I'm like, what are you talking about, we suck.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Your engineer told you the same thing? You're running the same times as Sebastien. I'm like, why is he six seconds ahead of me?

DAN CLARKE: You're doing the same time as the leaders. I can't see anybody. Then actually when the yellow came out, it took me right up to the very end to catch them up. It's unbelievable. He's like, don't worry, you'll pack up, you'll pack up. By the end on blacks, we were quick. A few other teams struggled.

We can't complain that we had the worst car. We've had better cars this year. We've deserved podiums more than we have today. I'll take a podium any day. Actually, I can't wait to get back to the team because we have this continuing conversation that came up. It seems to be consistent between engineers and mechanics. It's about who will share drinks, who will share what they call backwash out here.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: God, we don't need that.

DAN CLARKE: I've been working for this podium all year (laughter). There's a golden rule actually, a special rule. It's when bubbly is involved on a podium. I can't wait to get back and capture my engineers. They're not trying to get away, but they're probably looking forward to it, yeah. I've saved half my bubbly for this.

Q: Dan, you started 13th today. Podium is really a great accomplishment. Going back to San Jose, you were in second place, you were following behind Sebastien, then had a mechanical. Can you explain what went wrong? Do you think you would have had a chance to ever challenge Sebastien in that race?

DAN CLARKE: I don't know. I've not raced enough with Sebastien yet to see exactly how many tricks he has up his sleeve with that car he drives. I was looking at the information. We just posted fastest lap times a well before the gearbox started tightening up. At that point already the team were aware of a situation because they have the sensors. Whenever there's a problem, the engineer doesn't want to scare the driver, you just have to keep going. I was completely oblivious. Until right after doing the fastest lap, just started getting tighter on the straight. Next time around just wound up, then just lost drive. It turned out there was a full investigation within the team. A few people were keeping a low profile for a while. It was just a gearbox leak. The oil went out of it. It cooked itself. Ended up in the old hot pieces.

Q: Dan, could you take us through the last third of the race where you and Will and Nelson were doing well.

DAN CLARKE: I had no idea where Nelson was. I thought when I inherited the podium, I was excited, but your teammate's always your first competitor as well. I thought, he must be second or maybe he's won, I don't know. I wasn't even aware I was in front of him.

But I was battling really hard with Will. Had a bit of speed on him, but couldn't get past. When we did the pits, came out in front of him, ended up that we had -- I think we had a couple of 10ths on him each time. I got caught out a few times, made a few mistakes. Really just became a matter of focusing for the last 25 laps. Then I got a message that Justin was in front of me. In a couple of laps, I was right on his rear-end. He was struggling. He was on red tires again. Somebody probably will get fired for that one.

I got past him. The last turn, I was going into the last turn on the last lap, my engineer told me there was contact, to watch out for contact. I came around, there's Sebastien and Paul Tracy. I came on the radio, just as I was crossing the line, said to my engineer, Don't you dare tell me that's a podium just handed to us like that. It was unbelievable. It still is. It hasn't sunk in yet. I think karma probably has played a big hand today, after San Jose being kicked in the balls again. Sorry to stress that.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I have to tell you one thing. I think these two guys, they have to race a year for Ganassi, they going to be much better about their language (laughter). They are going to run out of money halfway through the season.

DAN CLARKE: To have it handed on a plate is brilliant. I wouldn't turn it down any day. I think it's just what we deserve as a team, especially after the weekend that we've had. Everyone has just done a solid job. The pit stops are obviously what gained us all the positions we did. I wasn't aware I was running sixth until the last quarter of the race.

Q: A.J. do you have any comment? Paul's volatile, been through this before.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: I wouldn't say that. (laughter)

Q: Any comment on what transpired? Sebastien obviously has his take on what happened. We've yet to hear what Paul thought. I know it's racing. What are your thoughts being his teammate?

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: That's what I say, thank you. Just a couple more of those.

Q: Bruno, at the end when your teammate got by you, were there any team orders for points or did you let him go by?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: No, zero. One of the nicest things about Newman/Haas, there is no team orders. For sure when he went to pass me, he didn't like completely pass me. I could have like maybe tried to make the corner and keep ahead. But already got together here in 2004. I kind of give him a lot of space. Then I got on the marbles outside. When I got the marbles, I went wide, then he had a chance to pass me turn two. Maybe if I was racing somebody else, I would play a little bit harder. But I was on the 'push to pass', didn't let him by. He was faster than me on that top. In the race, I was faster than him, I pass him.

There is no team order on the team.  That's nice.  The only team order is
don't crash each other.  That's what we try to do.

ERIC MAUK: All right. That will wrap-up our press conference. We go racing again in two weeks' time at Montreal.

-credit: ccws

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy