Champ Car Rookie Stars Finish 1-2 in Autosport Rookie-of-the-Year
INDIANAPOLIS (December 6, 2004) -- A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson battled all season on the race circuits that made up the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, finishing 1-2 in the fight for the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year Award as Allmendinger became the first American-born driver in 13 years to win the award.
The pair, now teammates at RuSPORT for the 2005 Champ Car World Series season, again finished 1-2 last night, this time in the voting for the Autosport Magazine "Rookie of the Year" title, with Allmendinger becoming the first American to ever win the prestigious award. The Hollister, California native nipped his new teammate for the award ahead of four other nominees after a year that saw him score nine top-10 finishes along with a pair of podium performances.
"Driving in Champ Cars this year has been a dream come true for me," said Allmendinger. "I've definitely learned a lot this season and everyone at RuSPORT is as dedicated to winning as I am, so we all have one goal-to win. So, with my rookie year done, I plan on contending for wins and the championship next year. I want to thank Carl Russo, my parents, and everyone who supported me. I wouldn't be getting this award without all of them."
Wilson had an equally impressive first year in Champ Cars, earning a front-row starting spot in just his fifth race, and debuting in Long Beach with a sixth-place finish despite having had very little testing time prior to visiting a street track that he had never seen before.
"It was an honor to be nominated for the award, especially when you look at the competition," Wilson said. "It's always nice to be recognized for what you're doing and if I have to lose out, who better to lose to than my new teammate! Seriously, A.J. is a very deserving winner and I had a great time racing head to head with him on the track. I'm really looking forward to next year with RuSPORT because I think A.J. and I can really push each other to some great results. I want to thank everyone for voting and supporting me this year."
The two Champ Car stars were voted ahead of fellow nominees Christian Klien (F1), Kasey Kahne (Nextel Cup), Darren Manning (IRL) and Rob Huff (BTCC) in voting conducted on the magazine's website, www.autosport.com.