CHAMP CAR PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT WITH A.J. ALLMENDINGER, PAUL TRACY AND MARIO DOMINGUEZ
ERIC MAUK: Welcome to today's press conference, first round of qualifying for the Gran Premio de Mexico, Presented by Banamex, the season finale of the 2005 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford. We're joined by the Top-3 qualifiers in today's first round. We will start with the third place qualifier, driver of the #7 Roshfrans/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone for Forsythe Championship Racing, Mario Dominguez. Mario puts up the best time of 128.314 seconds, 113.567 miles per hour. Mario has been on the podium here before, knows the way around. Good string day today. How do you feel about the way it went.
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: (In Spanish)
ERIC MAUK: Your last stint, you used the alternate Bridgestone Potenzas, how much of a difference did that make?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: (In Spanish)
ERIC MAUK: Our second place qualifier today, driver of the #3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth Lola/Bridgestone, Forsythe Championship Racing, Paul Tracy. A fast time of 127.962 seconds, 114.022 miles per hour. He is the 2003 race winner here. Paul, interesting day for you, morning practice leader but you had some incidents while finding the limit.
PAUL TRACY: Not what we wanted. We have been struggling with grip a little bit, fighting the car. We made some changes through qualifying that made it better. First set of tires was good. We were quickest, but we needed to improve quite a bit. My second run, I had da Matta come out the pits in front of me. He was on it. I really had to trail him around on my quick lap. Probably cost me a little bit of time with the aerodynamic turbulence and backed off of him at the end of the lap to start another lap and it went red. So we need a little bit better luck and should be better tomorrow.
ERIC MAUK: A.J. was six-tenths quicker than everyone today. How much is that a factor of him being faster or not everybody getting a whole lot of laps?
PAUL TRACY: Obviously their cars were fast on this type of surface. Portland where it's fast sweeping type corners and having an option with the red tires, RuSPORT has been really quick on those type of tracks. We've got to step it up a little bit tomorrow and I think we can be there. We just didn't get the best out of the tires.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Good luck tomorrow. The first round qualifying leader, driver the #10 Western Union Ford-Cosworth Lola/Bridgestone for RuSPORT, A.J. Allmendinger. He puts up a quick lap of 127.349 seconds, 114.822 miles per hour. Guarantees himself a front row start for Sunday's event; his fourth front row start of the year. Also scored the Championship point giving him 200 on the season. Six-tenths on everyone. That's a hell of a lap. Tell us a little bit about it.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Yeah, I wasn't -- really didn't know what to do with the tires, either go with the black or the red and I was going to stick with the black tires, but once I saw Mario go out there on the red and he put up a lap, that was quicker than myself on the blacks and I was really worried about Paul since he was just a touch quicker than me with the black tires, and once I saw him go on the red, I knew I had to switch to have any chance at all. The car was amazing on the red tires. I think I could have been quicker on the second lap, once we got after that, the car was just smooth as can be. I think we need to work on the black tires a little bit, get the car a little bit more stable and quicker for the race. But overall, I am pleased.
ERIC MAUK: Actually A.J. is now only 21 points behind Paul Tracy in that battle for fourth place.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Last year when Newman/Haas was so fast they picked up a lot of time from the first day to the second day. It seems like every year it changes. I know in '03 the second day was slower, so you never know, but I think if we just, as a team, keep focusing on the car and keep improving it, we'll be quicker tomorrow.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Good luck tomorrow. We'll go ahead and take questions from the media.
Q: A.J., you got to the track a little late today, is that something you are going to stick with since it worked so well today? (Laughs)
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: I might have to do that, I might have to keep sleeping in. I need my beauty rest obviously. I am not the most best looking guy so the more sleep I can get, beauty sleep, it only helps everybody at the track that looks at me. We will try it again tomorrow.
NOTE: The remainder of the transcript was rendered inaudible by the start of the Grand American Rolex Series qualifying session.