Mi-Jack Conquest Racing's Justin Wilson congratulates A.J. Allmendinger on Rookie of the Year Indianapolis, IN (27 October 04)--Mi-Jack Conquest Racing pilot Justin Wilson was disappointed not to take the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year honors, but...
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing's Justin Wilson congratulates A.J. Allmendinger on Rookie of the Year
Indianapolis, IN (27 October 04)--Mi-Jack Conquest Racing pilot Justin Wilson was disappointed not to take the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year honors, but felt as though he'd lost out to a worthy competitor in A.J. Allmendinger. Wilson, who raced last season for the Minardi and Jaguar Formula One teams, has scored seven top ten finishes this season and still had a shot of winning the award entering the penultimate round last weekend in Surfers Paradise, Australia.
Wilson and Allmendinger ran similar pit strategies during the race, but Wilson suffered when he was blocked by a lapped car at the last second heading into a corner midway through the race, and lost several positions in the process. Wilson fought back to move back up the order and finish in eighth, but Allmendinger was able to clinch the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year award with his sixth place result.
Wilson and Allmendinger have got to know each other on and off the track this season, and have developed a mutual respect for each other in the car.
In Wilson's first visit to Portland International Raceway for round four of the Champ Car World Series, the two rookies staged a mammoth battle, dueling for position over the final sixty-two laps of the race, and finishing within just one second of each other. Wilson got the better of the fight to take fifth at the finish ahead of Allmendinger, who had plenty of experience in Portland, scoring a fourth place finish in 2003 in Atlantics after winning there in 2002 in Barber Dodge.
"A.J. and I have had some great battles on the track this season, and he is certainly a talented driver," said Wilson. "The Mi-Jack Conquest team had a great start to the season, but we lost a bit of momentum in the points chase with being knocked out of a couple of races in the middle of the season. RuSport and A.J. did a great job to stay out of trouble and get the points he needed."
For his part, Allmendinger was excited to take the award, and was quick to point out that part of what made it special was the level of competition he faced for the award.
"I'm very happy with Rookie of the Year, I mean with contenders like Justin Wilson it's a pretty great thing to achieve," said Allmendinger.
Despite not taking the award, Wilson is enjoying his first season in Champ Car competition, and is hungry to score a strong result in the final round in Mexico City, Mexico in two weeks time.
"As a driver, you want to be competing against the best you can, week in and week out, and that's part of what makes racing in Champ Car so satisfying," said Wilson. "I am looking forward to the Mexico City race to finish the season off on a high note."
The Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team will contest the final round of the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford on November 7th in Mexico City, Mexico.
1991 Indy Lights Champion Eric Bachelart started Conquest Racing in 1997 to compete in the Indy Lights series, scoring a podium finish with driver Christophe Tinseau in the team's first season. Conquest Racing competed in the next four seasons in Indy Lights, winning races with Felipe Giaffone and Kristian Kolby. Mike Lanigan, President of Mi-Jack Products, an intermodal Chicago based company became a co-owner in 2002. Mi-Jack Conquest racing contested the 2002 Indy Racing League season with rookie Laurent Redon, netting a podium finish in just the third race of the season and clinched the Rookie of the year award.
Mi-Jack Conquest racing rejoined the Champ Car family in 2003, stepping up to the Champ Car World Series with Brazilian Mario Haberfeld and scoring eleven top-ten finishes despite competing with a Reynard. The team is proud to be contesting its second season in the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford, with rookie drivers Justin Wilson and Nelson Philippe.