A.J. Allmendinger, ...
A.J. Allmendinger, #10 Beijing '06
Despite struggling with handling issues all weekend long, reigning Roshfrans Rookie of the Year A.J. Allmendinger followed up his teammate to deliver both RuSPORT cars into the top-ten and make the highest finish for an American driver on the Champ Car World Series grid. The native Californian stayed focused and the #10 Beijing '06 crew gave A.J. quick pit stops for a consistent drive to the checkered flags.
"It has been an okay weekend. Today we struggled with the same issues we've had all weekend-no front end grip and poor car balance. The #10 car just never came around. The good thing is I moved forward from start to finish. We still delivered both RuSPORT cars in the top-ten and my teammate Justin Wilson did an excellent job, especially with the last pass on (Mario) Dominguez. We've definitely got a lot of work to do, but we've got the determination to do it."
Jeremy Dale, Team President
"It was definitely a challenging weekend for A.J. and the #10 guys. Having said that, A.J. moved forward and passed cars. He didn't give up and he stayed in the race. He made the most of what he had to work with today."
Justin Wilson, #9 SanDisk
British pilot Justin Wilson delivered a strong performance with his new team and new sponsor in today's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Wilson brought home his first top-five result of the 2005 Champ Car season with his 4th-place in the #9 SanDisk/RuSPORT car. After qualifying 5th, Justin and the SanDisk crew made quick pit stops, moving up to 2nd on the last stop. Cold tires resulted in a slight slide back to 5th, but the 26 year- old made a decisive pass on Mario Dominguez and continued the charge, battling Bruno Junqueira to the end in an effort to bring home a podium. Today also marks Wilson's first lap led for 2005. Justin and the RUSPORT team will be donating $5.00 for every lap led in competition this year to the official Champ Car World Series charity of Hole in the Wall Camps.
""I'm very proud of the SanDisk/RuSPORT team. The whole crew did a great job all weekend and today, Todd (Malloy, Race Engineer #9) did a great job calling the race and the crew gave me great pit stops. We were just a fraction of a second from 2nd-place out of my last stop. We fell back and battled for 3rd. Bruno (Junqueira) went sliding wide, and I almost had him. Today is a good start, but next time, we plan on getting those Newman-Haas guys!"
Carl Russo, Team Owner
"All in all, this was a fine debut for Justin with the RuSPORT team. He's new, his engineer Todd Malloy is new and they are all working well together. It was a solid weekend for the SanDisk crew. One of the most exciting parts of the race was after Justin's last stop, getting to P-2 and driving his heart out on cold tires. He dropped back, but really battled and made a great pass to make a strong run at third. It was a job well done."