This Week in Ford Racing August 9, 2005 Champ Car World Series A.J. Allmendinger, driver of the No. 10 CDW RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola, brings renewed focus to this weekend's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver Presented by Pacificare...
This Week in Ford Racing
August 9, 2005
Champ Car World Series
A.J. Allmendinger, driver of the No. 10 CDW RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola, brings renewed focus to this weekend's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver Presented by Pacificare following three DNF's. His team, RuSPORT, is headquartered in Loveland, Colo.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER - No. 10 CDW RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola
ON HIS SEASON, SO FAR. "Overall, for me, it has been a disappointing season due to mistakes I've made over the past few races. I'm quite pleased the team is coming together and pleased at the speeds we are showing each weekend. We are starting to show we are definitely one of the contending teams each weekend and we can go out there and win. Justin [Wilson, teammate] had a victory earlier this year and that was great. Most likely I should have had a victory as well, and I made mistakes. I'm happy with the team I'm just not happy with my results right now. Going into Denver I'm just trying to forget about the mistakes I've made, learn from them and move on. And if we do that, I think we'll have a good chance of being there again."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACING IN DENVER? "I've been there three years now, second time with Champ Car, first time in the Toyota Atlantic Series. I was there for the inaugural race in 2002 to just watch. I think the race has improved a lot from year to year. Denver is quickly becoming one of the best races in the Champ Car schedule. It's a home race which makes my weekend a little harder with more fans, friends and sponsor commitments, but I'll try to split that up as best I can."
WHAT ABOUT RACING CLOSE TO THE TEAM'S HEADQUARTERS? "I'm there to win a race. If it comes down to the fact I have to miss a media appearance to talk with my engineers or get some rest because we're worn down too far, then that's what I'll have to do. It is a tough weekend."
HOW HAS YOUR LEARNING CURVE BEEN? "I'm just learning with each step I take. I'm still really young both in age and just learning how to drive a race car. It's only my fifth year, so, more importantly, to learn from my mistakes and try to improve."
ON HIS COMPETITIVE NATURE. "I'm quite hard on myself. It's just the way I am. I understand that I shouldn't be as hard as I am on myself. It really doesn't matter what anybody tries to tell me to make it better. I've got to do it the way I need to do it for myself. Now, over the last three races where I've DNF'd and crashed, I've changed my outlook and am trying not to put pressure on myself to go out there and win. I'm going to try and not focus on points and just focus on learning, and hopefully I can keep that attitude throughout the course of a weekend and the balance of the season."
WHAT CAN YOU SHARE WITH FUTURE RACING STARS? "Anyone who has a question, I give them the honest answer from me. I just try to relay the message of what I had to go through and what it takes to get in my position. The one thing I can tell them is if you love it, you just never give up no matter what anyone tells you. If you give up, you never had a chance to begin with. So, no matter how much money you have, if you have a rich background or poor -- I didn't have a lot of money. My parents did all they could. They mortgaged their house three different times when I first got into car racing. No matter what, if you want it that bad you find a way to do it. I still believe whole-heartedly if you have the talent, you'll still get the chance. This day and age it may be less of a chance than it use to because sponsorship is even more important in this economy. If you have the talent and you can show that you can do it, and you have the passion you'll do whatever it takes, I still believe you'll get the shot."
WHAT ACTIVITIES DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN WHEN YOU ARE AWAY FROM THE TRACK? "I don't know my mind is ever turned off from racing because I really enjoy playing racing games on the computer. I'm actually quite boring when I'm at home. I work out because I have to for the sport. But, when I can sit back and get on my computer, get online and start playing racing games. That's it. I like other sports like bowling (average 195). My perfect day away from the race track is coming home, getting on my computer and playing video games."
ON THE SUPPORT HE RECEIVES FROM THE TEAM. "They tell me all the time they are behind me. It's great. Especially my crew guys who have to keep fixing my race car. Whether they are lying to me - I hope not, because if they are they are doing a good job of it because I believe them. They tell me they don't care if I keep crashing every race car I'm in because they say once I figure it out I'll be unstoppable. It doesn't ease the pain at the moment, but it is nice to know if I make a mistake my job isn't on the line."
ON TEAM OWNER CARL RUSSO. "He's been with me every step of the way, from Atlantics (Toyota Atlantic Series) to here. He has seen the mistakes I've made and watched me grow as a driver. This is definitely the hardest time I've ever had to go through in my career. I've never really had a downside to my career until now, but Carl's there. He tells me he'll be there until the end. He's a great owner to have."
ON TEAMMATE JUSTIN WILSON. "He's great. I truly believe he's the fastest guy in the series right now. He is my roommate, but it's really cool because if we want to talk about what happened at the track we do, and if not, we don't. It's no hidden fact that we want to beat each other on the track, because you are ultimately compared to your teammate. But off the track, we're just hanging out as roommates and good friends."
HAVE YOU LEARNED ANYTHING FROM JUSTIN? "Although we are both in our second season competing in Champ Car, it's a lot different for him. He's had F1 experience, plus he's got investors financially sponsoring him. When I have talked to him about his F1 experience he pretty much said the F1 cars are the coolest thing to drive, but other than that it's not that great being over there. It's so different from the Champ Car series. Champ Car is laid back and drivers like to go to drivers' parties together and hang out. It's just not like that in F1."
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF RACING IN A DIFFERENT SERIES DOWN THE ROAD? "I have no need or want to go to Formula One and experience that at this time. Looking forward, at this point I have no need to want to, but you never know where my career will take me. Right now I'm still learning how to finish a Champ Car race."
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION? "From the passion of hating to lose."