CHAMP CAR PRESS CONFERENCE FROM EDMONTON WITH JUSTIN WILSON, SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS AND A.J. ALLMENDINGER ERIC MAUK: All right, ladies and gentlemen, well get started with our post race press conference, from the west Edmonton Milwaukee Grand Prix,...
CHAMP CAR PRESS CONFERENCE FROM EDMONTON WITH JUSTIN WILSON, SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS AND A.J. ALLMENDINGER
ERIC MAUK: All right, ladies and gentlemen, well get started with our post race press conference, from the west Edmonton Milwaukee Grand Prix, presented by the Brick, round eight of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.
As the third of our top three finishers is making his way to the podium now, we'll start with our third place finisher today, driver of the #7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Forsythe Championship Racing, A.J. Allmendinger, finished third today, earned his fifth podium finish of the season, 12th of his career. A.J., you fought a long battle today. Not only did you have to come from fourth on the grid to fight your way up, but you fought a number of health problems today. Tell us a bit about it.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: It was a tough race, for sure. I was under the weather since yesterday. You know, really we had a third place car. The whole Forsythe Indeck team did a great job. We've been struggling since we got here. I think we kind of fell behind the track. We were quickest in the morning session on Friday. We kind of fell behind the track.
It's been a tough weekend throughout with all different kinds of things. But the team fought hard. We got on the podium. Whether I was healthy or not, I think we probably would have had a third place car. I'm really pleased to be back on the podium. You know things are going right when you're kind of disappointed being third after four races with a team. You know, I'm pleased with it. I'm looking forward to San Jose now. Go back to a street course. I think we got those figured out fairly well.
ERIC MAUK: Tell the people a little bit about what it takes to stay focused and to stay fast, perform well in one of these cars when you feel like what you'd rather be doing is laying down.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Yeah, especially on this racetrack. I don't know if I've ever seen so much rubber laid down on a circuit. Under yellow, rubber was flying everywhere. This is probably the worst circuit to be unhealthy at just because it's so physically demanding. You know, it's just something that we all go through at some point where we're sick for a race. You just got to keep fighting. The middle of the race is probably the toughest when there was no yellows for a whole stint and a half. But you just fight through it. You have no excuses. You just do the best you can with it. When you have a great team like Forsythe, it makes it just a bit easier to get through problems when you're having it like that.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Good run today. Today's runner-up, driver of the #1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, Sebastien Bourdais. Sebastien finishes second, earns his seventh podium finish of the year, the 31st of his career. He led a race-high 55 laps today. Tough race. You ran up front the first stint. Tell us about how you thought the day went.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It really felt like we had two races today. The first stint, the McDonald's car was awesome, I was feeling very comfortable. I could manage the tire wear, was really having great balance. That was on the red Bridgestone tires. You know, everything seemed to be quite in control. Then we put the blacks on, and I don't know whether it's the tire or it's the track that picks up more grip. We went out with brand-new tires, and for some reason we completely lost the ending. I wasn't really expecting that at all. We really suffered. We were suffering quite a huge understeer. Like the rear grip wasn't there either. I was sliding all over. Justin just ran me down. For some reason, the car kind of came back to life at the end of this second stint. I was getting to be a little hopeful again because I saw Justin spinning. We were going to go some three or four laps further. I wasn't looking bad at that point.
Unfortunately, I don't know what happened with Alex. He nearly lost it coming into five, ran slow in six. When we got to seven, I was side by side with him. Just completely didn't see me, I guess. He turned and we had contact. I lost some four seconds on that lap. You know, came out of the pits after that a little behind Justin, but we would have stand a chance at that point. That's probably when we lost the race. You know, that's racing. But we just, in the meantime, got a little lucky not to break down right there, because that was quite a hard contact. After that, you know, I guess I could have tried a little harder to try and stay with Justin, but I was starting to be a little tired in the end. The car was still not completely there for me. It was probably safer to just hold on to second place and get the checkered flag, so that's what we did. We managed to get a podium finish out of it.
ERIC MAUK: Satisfaction with coming in here? A.J. had been chewing up your points lead. You come in, have a very good weekend, lead both qualifying sessions, you come out here protecting your lead.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, the good thing for the championship is obviously we're coming out of this event, even if we don't win it, with the same point lead. Not the same chaser any more, but it's still 23 over the second-place guy. It's not comfortable, but it's better than being chasing the guy in front of you. We'll take it. Now we'll have to turn things around in places where we usually are pretty good. Looking forward to San Jose and Denver and Montreal where we've been very, very quick. We'll see what happens.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. Good run today. The winner of the West Edmonton Milwaukee Grand Prix presented by the Brick, driver of the #9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for RuSPORT, Justin Wilson. He led 28 laps on the day, got his first win of the year, the third of his Champ Car career. He also ran the fastest lap of the event. He moves up to second in points as Sebastien alluded to. He's 23 points behind Sebastien after eight races. Justin, good strong run today. Tell us a little bit about how it felt.
JUSTIN WILSON: It felt really good. The first stint was all about saving fuel and trying not to drop back too much. Obviously Sebastien changed his strategy, pitted a couple laps before everyone else. But, you know, we decided to go for a short fill, get past Paul, try and force the issue. That's what we were able to do.
My car was working really well. You know, we just got quicker and quicker as laps went on. What else can I say? It was a fantastic day. Really got to thank my whole crew, did some fantastic pit stops, and my engineers who did a great job with the strategy and also with the car setup. I'm very pleased that we made this one happen, pulled this one off. It's great to do this for CDW Canada, as well.
ERIC MAUK: Tell us about the last stint. On the restart, we're sitting here, you have 10 seconds 'push to pass' left, the guys behind you have 35 seconds more than you do. You snap off 59.5, 59.2. Where did those come?
JUSTIN WILSON: 59.2, yeah. It took a few laps to clean off the tires. I think we all struggled with the same thing. We seemed to get a lot of pickup. Once we got rid of that, got the tires cleaned up a little bit, could start to push. The car, again -- the track was rubbering in. The car was feeling better and better. I just tried to go for that fastest lap. I knew Sebastien was going to save his up and then use it on one lap to try to get the fastest lap. My team was telling me that. I didn't have that luxury, so I decided I got to go for it. I managed to do it without the 'push to pass'.
Continued in part 2