CHAMPCAR/CART: Racers ready to tame Road America

The Champ Car World Series heads to Road America this weekend to tame the 4-mile road course through the forest of Elkhart Lake. Defending champion Bruno Junqueira will attempt to make it two-in-a-row here, and move closer to Newman/Haas ...

The Champ Car World Series heads to Road America this weekend to tame the 4-mile road course through the forest of Elkhart Lake. Defending champion Bruno Junqueira will attempt to make it two-in-a-row here, and move closer to Newman/Haas Racing teammate Sebastian Bourdais who leads the series points championship halfway through the season.

Junqueira, still looking for his first victory this season while garnering four second-place finishes, heads back to a circuit that exemplifies his talents, winning here 2 out of the past three years. "I feel happy and very confident, Junqueira said. "I think Road America is the nicest racetrack in America. It's a proper road course, slow and fast and that brings out the best (in) drivers. I've been very fortunate to do well here over the last three years. I love this track; I always race on this kind of track throughout my career and I think I drive my best on this type of track."

With a 27-point lead and three race wins under his belt, Bourdais looks to regain his control after a fifth place finish two weeks ago in Vancouver. Road America has been good to the Frenchman, a coveted second-place trophy in his cabinet from his finish here as a rookie in 2003.

"It's a unique experience, very good and very difficult." Junqueira said of working with a teammate. "It's very good because you can work as a team to make both cars strong and try to finish one and two. On the other hand a little bit difficult sometimes because when I've found something extra, then he has as well, and when he finds something then I do as well. But I think Sebastian is a very good driver and I respect him a lot."

Leading the rookie points battle coming into round eight is 2003 Atlantic champion A. J. Allmendinger. Allmendinger finished a career high third place in Vancouver and jumped ahead of Justin Wilson by 18 points with a lot of racing left on the schedule.

Wilson, having run the full Formula One campaign last year, comes into the series as a rookie, but feels much differently when he straps on the helmet. "I don't really see myself as a rookie." Wilson said. "I don't have the experience in using these rules and driving on these circuits so in that respect I am a rookie but as far as racing, I've been racing since I was eight years old, and I don't consider myself a rookie when it comes to race-day."

Allmendinger will have his hands full this weekend, trying to keep his championship hopes alive let alone the rookie title, as he currently sits eighth overall. "I'm more and more excited to come to each race weekend," the California native said. "The team gets better with each race we do and I get better with each race I do."

When asked about the off-track responsibilities of a Champ Car driver, Allmendinger replied: "You have to divide between focusing on the race and focusing off the track. My PR person, Tara Regan, she does a great job of keeping everything down to a minimum of what I need to do, and what I need to be focused on. It's a new experience of being off track and dealing with all the media stuff that goes on, and I enjoy it because this is a part of my life. As much as I look forward to this season and the rest of the year, I really look forward to next season because I think that's when Champ Car racing is really going to be back in the flow of things and really be taking off to where it used to be."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Bruno Junqueira