CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: Top 3 finishers transcript (part 2)

Continued from part 1 Q: Pat, just wondering, does this podium make that decision an emotional one? PATRICK CARPENTIER: It's going to be mostly a business decision. We're going to decide within the next month or so. We're going to talk...

Continued from part 1

Q: Pat, just wondering, does this podium make that decision an emotional one?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: It's going to be mostly a business decision. We're going to decide within the next month or so. We're going to talk to Jerry and a few people. We'll see how it goes. But right now, I don't know.

Q: Pat, if you are to be back next year, Montreal Molson Indy, are you going to bother showing up on Friday?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: Maybe I shouldn't show up anymore. Gave us quite a few brand-new sets of tires for the race. It was pretty good. But, you know, what, it's good to have a teammate like Paul, you know, because if you don't run on Friday, he runs. He keeps adjusting the car. If he doesn't run, I run. We exchange a lot of information.

We had different settings today for the race and I think my settings, and I think my settings worked a little bit better. But to have two teammates that run hard this year, I think there's been a lot of rumor and stuff like that. But this year I've been really happy with the team. They've really given me the same equipment, same thing as Paul. I've been treated really well. Of course, at the beginning of the year, it was a bit of a tough thing, but it's been great. I just want to clarify that because I know there's been a lot of rumors about that. But it's fantastic. So now maybe in Laguna Seca I'll fly in on Friday.

ERIC MAUK: Patrick is the defending winner at Laguna Seca.

Q: Mario, was the back bothering you in the car or did this happen after you got out?

MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Well, normally in the car, it's funny, you can have the biggest problem or pain in the world, but you normally don't feel it very much because you're so focused and you're so concentrated, so your mind doesn't even have time to think about pain. But the moment I got out, I got just like cramped up.

Q: Mario, obviously your pit stop is very frustrating. Can you tell us your thoughts on the car at that time and a little bit about your charge back up to a podium finish?

MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Well, obviously you can see it taking longer and longer and longer. By the time you're almost 30 seconds in the pit, you know you can't win. Pretty much going to be very, very hard to do it. Just got -- just thought, "Okay, keep focused, keep your composure, just push as hard as you can, do your best." I knew I had a strong car. That's what I did. Hopefully, you know, thankfully we managed to finish on the podium. But it's too bad. It just hurts.

Q: Mario, obviously you were very competitive. Would you characterize this as your best race? Would you say that was the case?

MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Yeah. It's just when you have a good car, it makes such a difference. It's so much easier to drive around fast, you know. I've had places where I've finished fifth and thought those were my best drives because I haven't had a great car, I've had to work three times harder.

But definitely it's one of the best races, if not one of the best cars I've had in my whole Champ Car career today. I'm really happy. Just shows the improvement the whole team has done, especially my engineer, Mike, starting to communicate a lot better. It's amazing. You know, I know what to ask for, he knows what to give me. In Denver we had it going pretty good. It's looking good every time.

Q: Bruno, could you just talk about the moment when you knew Sebastien was done, what was going through your mind at that time?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I knew that I had to go flat out, fast as possible at that moment. AJ is still leading the race. I didn't know, because of the yellow flag in the race, how the strategy were going to be, you know. Then I had to do some really fast laps. And then when I got the lead, the team told me on the radio that AJ was pretty much the only fast guy on the different strategy. There was Tracy, Carpentier and Mario fighting for the second place. I had that 10 seconds lead. I try to keep focused, having good pace on the race. And that's what I did.

It was very hard. I mean, pretty much all my Champ Car career wins, I was race so hard in the end of the race. Some race I was leading like I remember, I don't know, in Denver 2002, I was leading by 20 seconds, 10 laps to go a yellow flag, bunch everybody together. Same happened last year in Denver. Elkhart, I was big lead, but then in the rain is never easy. It's always hard. This time, I mean, I didn't have anybody close to me. It's hard as well because it's very difficult to have to keep concentrated and keep a good pace. I couldn't allow like Pat to take half a second each lap because if he start to go much faster than me, he gets confidence, and then I get the traffic, then the things can get not nice. Then I have to keep a good pace but without making mistakes. Is not easy, especially on this track.

Q: Bruno, have you seen the accident? You witnessed the accident?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Yeah, I was just a little bit behind Sebastien. It's very difficult, the angle. I see that him and AJ went to the corner. AJ brake inside. Sebastien had cold tires. They had a contact. More than that, it's like I was maybe three seconds behind Sebastien. It's like in a position that you can't really tell what's happen. The only thing I saw is like Sebastien had a flat tire.

Q: So you don't think it could be avoided?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I have no -- I cannot comment on that because I was not like just behind Sebastien that I could say if it was AJ fault or Sebastien fault or racing incidents. What I can say for sure is Sebastien had cold tires and AJ hot tires. Those are the situations that are difficult because the guy on hot tires want to pass and the guy on cold tires difficult to manage as well. It was a shame that that happened. But gave me the opportunity to take the lead of the race at that moment.

Q: We've changed the rules a few times. Now we're at the point where we have one mandatory pit stop towards the end of the race and the pace car comes out after the pit stops on a yellow. If you could comment about how you like the way these rules are now.

PATRICK CARPENTIER: I think it's good. You know what happened at Elkhart. There was a lot of luck taken away from Alex, he should have won so many times, had so much bad luck. It kind of reversed the race and all the fast guys ended up at the back. It's the objective of that new rule, and I think it's working pretty well. We kind of can stop when we want, save a little bit of fuel.

There's still a lot of action. I think the best decision Champ Car took this year was the 'push to pass'. This is unbelievable. It's like a video game. You're following the guy, following the guy, you see his light going, you're like, "Yeah, must be out soon." Like with Paul today, kept using it, kept using it, had three seconds left. I was like, "Got to be out, got to be out." I pushed it and made the pass. Without that, I never would have passed him because less downforce. I think it made everything pretty interesting and to keep improving every weekend. I think it's a good decision.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I think as Pat said, as I said before, the 'push to pass' is great. The best thing they made in the series in a long, long time. Great decision. Make the race more exciting for the fans and for the driver, as well. I think the new rules is much, much better. I think the rules last year wasn't great. Now I think is much better, is a good race. The only down point, you have to save fuel. Like I said, I was just behind Mario saving fuel. Maybe the last two years you didn't have to save fuel. But apart of that, shows as well the driver's ability to save fuel. Is not a bad thing, you know, because you don't have the switch on the steering wheel you used to have to save fuel by. Now if the driver is capable to save fuel and keep close to the guy in front, okay, then I think I like the way it is. It's pretty nice.

MARIO DOMINGUEZ: I'm happy with the rules. But like Bruno says, you know, we don't like to go out there and save fuel. We want to go flat out. That's the best racing. But it's definitely getting much better. It's a big improvement from what we had at the beginning of the year. So we're getting there.

PATRICK CARPENTIER: I think it makes it fun because you save fuel and the guy behind you has so many seconds of 'push to pass'. There's a limit to how much before everybody would start saving fuel and slow down. Now I think with that, like I was trying to save fuel in front of Mario, but I couldn't save too much because I knew he was coming and probably had some 'push to pass' left, yeah.

Q: Bruno, saving fuel, watching in turn one, there were quite a few times when you were locking the brakes. You were talking earlier about having to work the brakes in order to save fuel. Was that part of that? How would you explain that?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Yeah, I think I had throughout the middle of the stints, there was a path throughout the middle of the stints that my car wasn't too good. When I was behind Mario in the race, I could follow him and had great fuel mileage very easily. After the restart, start to lock the fronts because, one thing I remember last year, I end up spinning on the hairpin because I had too much rear brake. I didn't want to take the risk. I said better lock the fronts than lock the rear and spin. I was like trying to save fuel. I was like lift very much earlier before the braking point.

Especially in that corner, it's a good place to save fuel and brake very late. Sometimes I had left front locking, especially in that corner. That was the only corner that bothered me, maybe six or seven times throughout the race. But on the other hand I had a pretty clean race without mistakes. Sometimes like making two or three small mistakes, but this race I was just clean. I locked the brakes a little bit, but that did allow me to go really faster on the middle stint. But was a pretty clean race for me.

ERIC MAUK: That will bring an end to our press conference. We go racing in two weeks at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Thank you.

-ccws-

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