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

Continued from part 1 ERIC MAUK: We'll take questions from the media now. Q</I>: Last year on the restart you had a problem near the end. Any flashback in your mind at that point? JUSTIN WILSON: Definitely (laughter). You know, for...

Continued from part 1

ERIC MAUK: We'll take questions from the media now.

Q</I>: Last year on the restart you had a problem near the end. Any flashback in your mind at that point?

JUSTIN WILSON: Definitely (laughter). You know, for both of them, I was, you know, pretty nervous and just didn't want to make a mistake. I knew we had a pretty quick car, we could make this one happen. It's all a case of not throwing it away like we did a year ago. It feels really good to come out and get the win and try and make up for the mistake last year.

Q</I>: Can you expand on that?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I'm not quite sure he wanted to expand on that.

JUSTIN WILSON: Basically I got too confident and too relaxed. I had been saving fuel the whole race up until that point. I was finally given the green light to go and able to keep pace with these two guys actually and was saving fuel. As soon as they said, Okay, time to go, I knew I could pick up the pace at least half a second a lap. Just got carried away, just spun out. That was under caution. I was warming up my tires. It bit me.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Are you trying to make him look bad (laughter)?

ERIC MAUK: Dude, remember that one time you crashed? That was cool. (laughter)

Q</I>: A.J., about the mistake you made here last year--

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: What's for me (laughter)?

JUSTIN WILSON: Tough crowd.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Good press conference, see you guys!

Q</I>: Sebastien, can you talk about the problem had today?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, I just -- my car would push a lot. It was really, really well-balanced. We had just a little bit of understeer oqn the first stint. I thought I had enough fuel in the car to correct that for the second stint. I completely ran out of fuel by lap five. From there on, that was it. I couldn't get it in on the balance. I saw Justin coming back at us. Really not much I could do. Then finally after three-quarters of a stint, the car kind of came back a little bit to us, but we hit traffic, lost the very end of my gap. Pretty much that was that really.

Our only chance after that moment would have been to, just like I said, go further, which we were going to do, because we had full fueled the car and Justin had short fueled. That had been taken away by Alex who nearly crashed us. That was a shame. In the end, I didn't mention that, but I think obviously when you look at the lap times, Justin was just the fastest of the field today. We just didn't anticipate enough how much grip the track would pick up. We had too good a car at the beginning of the race and wasn't good enough in the end. Thumbs up for these guys. They did better than us. I'll try to give them a response in San Jose.

Q</I>: A.J., specifically, what is the problem with your health today.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: I drank too much Red Bull (laughter). No, I'm kidding. No, you know, I woke up yesterday, just felt ill, hoped that it would kind of go away yesterday. Today, it didn't. But, you know, that's no excuse or anything. We had a third place car, so we finished third. I'm pleased with that.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Are you playing the sissy again?

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Yeah, I mean, it's just an excuse. I like to make as many excuses as I can (laughter).

Q</I>: So when are you going to Formula One? (laughter)

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: What time did we lose the press conference this time now?

ERIC MAUK: Three in a row.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: I mean, I don't feel great. But, you know, just when you're in the car and you're working that hard, the heat's building up, it's definitely a lot harder.

Q</I>: Justin, talk about that first fuel stop, it really made a difference for you today.

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, we were planning on short-filling, trying to get ahead of Paul, get some clear track, go after Sebastien. I didn't make it easy for my crew. I came in. I was struggling for the last half of that stint, sliding around, understeer, oversteer. When I came into the box, I got on the brakes, not much happened. The wheels stopped turning and I just carried on. Had a shuffle along a little bit. Still managed to do a great pit stop and get me out. Just beat Paul out of the pit lane.

Q</I>: I understand there is a committee of you guys that work on track improvements, how do you feel about the track this year?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, no, no. The safety committee has been formed after Houston this year. That was pretty recent. The track layout was the same. It was just, you know, relocating walls and making sure we had some runoff and stuff like that. It's not a hundred percent ideal, but it's a lot better than last year, especially with the fact that we don't have the banners in the middle of the straights with these walls. That was a pretty big improvement.

In the end what really matters for you guys, don't take it personally, but I think it doesn't affect you. It's more, you know, on our side to try and get our stuff together to make it safe for us. What matters for you is that this track is probably providing one of the best showing I guess of the season. It's blindingly fast, it really shows on TV, gives us justice, and that's what we need. Everybody enjoys it and that's that.

Q</I>: Justin?

JUSTIN WILSON: I think it's a big step on last year. They've made it safer. Like Sebastien says, it's all down to ourselves and Champ Car fine tuning things in general, not just Edmonton, but other things, how we work. You know, we all love the track. I think it's awesome obviously because I won. But even last year when I threw it away, I thought it was a fantastic circuit, a great venue.

It's a quick circuit. We carry a lot of speed through these corners. There's no time to relax. Even on the straights, you come out of one corner, you're driving diagonally across the other side of the runway to get set up for the next corner, you're up-shifting. I found it difficult to find time to take the (indiscernible) off the shields this year. It keeps you pretty busy. It's very demanding.

Q: Where does this win rank among your career highlights.

JUSTIN WILSON: Well, it's obviously the most recent, so it's the best one. It's in the top three, as A.J. says (laughter). It is fantastic. It's a tough race today. That middle stint was like qualifying every lap, flat out. You're trying to go quicker, catch Sebastien. Once we got ahead, it was a case of trying to pull away and open up the gap because he was going to pit three or four laps later than us and have that advantage back.

It was tough. We had to keep pushing the whole race. There were times in there where it was more difficult to drive than qualifying. Definitely feel your arms pumping and your lungs working hard. This one's right up there.

Q</I>: After four second places, were you beginning to wonder when you were going to win?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, we just needed to do a slightly better job. We had four second places. A couple of those, you know, a few if's and but's and would have been first. This is racing. You can't afford if's and but's. We had to make sure we didn't make any mistakes, we didn't leave anything on the table. We had a good car. Today we did that.

Q</I>: Sebastien won four in a row, A.J. got three, Justin, how long is your streak going to be?

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: One (laughter).

JUSTIN WILSON: I told A.J. earlier, it's my turn to go on a streak.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER: You had your streak. You finished second in a lot of races. That was your streak (laughter).

Q</I>: What are your thoughts on some sort of handicap system to help those that are lagging behind the faster cars?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I've seen it done in touring cars back in England, Germany as well does similar things.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It's tough enough.

JUSTIN WILSON: Pretty difficult. Each weekend, each session, you know, you can be fifth or you can be first or you can be seventh. You know, it's hard enough to hit everything right and end up on top.

I think it will come down to the people at the back having a little bit more experience in their driving, a little bit -- a bit of everything. You've got to work with the team and the team's got to step up, have the money to be able to develop the cars a little bit more. I think next year you'll see a more level playing field, everyone starting from scratch again. That will do a little bit of what you're asking.

-ccws

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