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Champ Car Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Champ Car

Champ Car Media Conference

A.J. Allmendinger
Ryan Dalziel
Bruno Junqueira
Johnny Miller
Danica Patrick
Jonathan Summerton
Justin Wilson
August 5, 2004


ERIC MAUK: Thank you, everyone, for joining us today on what will be a jam-packed Champ Car media teleconference. We are calling live from Elkhart Lake, scene of this weekend's Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America, presented by the Chicago Tribune. We have four series represented this weekend. We have representatives from all four series on the call with us today. From Champ Car, we have AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson, two of the protagonists in the Rookie-of-the-Year points battle. Bruno Junqueira, who is the defending winner of the race here, will be calling in. We are also joined by two of the frontrunners from the Toyota Atlantic Championship, Ryan Dalziel and Danica Patrick, as well as TransAm veteran Johnny Miller and one of the frontrunners in the Formula BMW USA, Jonathan Summerton. I'd like to go ahead and introduce a couple of our Champ Car drivers, a young man coming off his very first Champ Car podium, he finished third in Vancouver two weeks ago. Driver of the #10 BG Products/Red Bull Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for RuSPORT, AJ Allmendinger. AJ, thanks for joining us today.

AJ ALLMENDINGER: Thanks for having me.

ERIC MAUK: Two weeks or a week and a half after the Vancouver event. Has it sunk in what you accomplished out there? Now that you've had time to think about it, how does it feel?

AJ ALLMENDINGER: It feels great for many reasons. It was a great achievement for the team, not only with myself finishing third but for Michelle to be second. We've been making progress each weekend. You know, for me, I was just pleased to get the finish that I felt like I deserved because two weeks before that I had kind of thrown a couple good finishes away with driver errors. So, you know, I'm looking forward to the rest of the season because I think we've gotten stronger each weekend and now finally we have the result to show it.

ERIC MAUK: What has this done to the team? Both you guys finished on the podium in Vancouver, like you mentioned.

AJ ALLMENDINGER: Yeah, definitely. At the shop everybody's been working just that much harder, more upbeat. Everybody's just ready to go. And I think with each weekend that passes, as I said, we get stronger, and that just makes the team more excited to come to each race weekend. I'm really looking forward to the race here at Elkhart Lake.

ERIC MAUK: You guys tested here before we went to Milwaukee. Give us a little idea about what you think about Road America.

AJ ALLMENDINGER: Actually we didn't test here. We had more things to work on than just testing here because I think that was after the Mexico race. Since we were so stellar at the Mexico race, we thought we needed to test more than just at Road America. So I'll tell you tomorrow after practice how I feel about it.

ERIC MAUK: That will work. A man who did test here, and tested fairly well, if memory serves, which apparently it doesn't after AJ's question, driver of the #34 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, Justin Wilson. Justin, are you still with us?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I'm still with you.

ERIC MAUK: Outstanding. Talk a little bit about that test. You ran a little bit in the rain here on that first day because it poured and everybody else kind of sat back and watched you run in the rain. Tuesday you ran pretty wet. Give us your impressions of this racetrack.

JUSTIN WILSON: Well, for me it's more like what I'm used to. It's similar to the circuits back in Europe so I feel very comfortable here. I did the test, so I know the circuit layout. I'm looking forward to the race weekend. It's an exciting track, very quick corners, not so much runoff in places, which adds to the excitement. As I said, I can't wait to get out there and put the last three weekends behind me.

ERIC MAUK: As I mentioned in the introduction, these two drivers we have with us at the moment are leading contenders in the Rookie-of-the-Year battle. Justin, you had been leading that all the way up until Vancouver. Now you find yourself in the second spot in the battle. Tell us just a little bit about your thoughts about racing against AJ.

JUSTIN WILSON: He's very competitive. He's a very good driver and we get on quite well off track. You know, he's a big man. He's taken control at the minute. We're looking to get that back, though. It's a very good battle from both our points of view. We just want to be competitive, trying to learn as quickly as possible, and understand the (inaudible) of Champ Car.

ERIC MAUK: AJ, you talked a little bit in Vancouver about how you really hadn't worried about the Rookie-of-the-Year battle, but it means a little more to you now in taking on someone like Justin who has the pedigree he does. Your thoughts on that?

AJ ALLMENDINGER: As I said, I've never been on Rookie-of-the-Year battles. I just didn't want to be the best rookie; I wanted to be the best guy in the series. This year has meant more to me just because of Justin's experience and with each race that I see him drive in, and more importantly each qualifying lap that I see him do, I respect him that much more. I think he's an amazing driver. If I'm able to come out on top in Rookie-of-the-Year, I think it's really going to mean something to me this year just because of the talent that he has. I think if I can accomplish that, it means I really did something this year. I want to know if he's got any advice for me at Road America, because that would be great.

JUSTIN WILSON: Oh, yeah, I've got plenty for you, AJ (laughter).

ERIC MAUK: We'll take questions for our Champ Car drivers here in just a minute. I'd like to introduce our Toyota Atlantic drivers now, starting with the driver of the #28 Pro Works machine for Sierra Sierra Enterprises, Ryan Dalziel. Ryan is second in the points, just 13 points behind leader Jon Fogarty. He comes off a win from the pole in Vancouver. Ryan, thanks for joining us today.

RYAN DALZIEL: Thanks for having me.

ERIC MAUK: Unfortunately, Ryan, you didn't get to put in a full day of running. Give us an idea of how things went yesterday for you.

RYAN DALZIEL: Yeah, they started off pretty good. But it was more a destructive day than a constructive day. We ended up having a brake failure and destroyed the car at lunchtime. Before that we were running well. We're pretty confident coming into the weekend. I've been here before. It's good to come back to somewhere like Europe.

ERIC MAUK: You come into the year as one of the favorites. You have three wins from pole this year, as I said in second place, definitely within striking distance of the lead. How do you feel about the way the championship chase is shaping up for you?

RYAN DALZIEL: Yeah, I think this season we had a couple of bad results that put us behind Jon for a couple of races. But we're competitive at (inaudible) team. When we're on track and running, we're always in the top two. I think it's going to be tight. It's by no means over. We've got to keep taking bites at them.

ERIC MAUK: Definitely by no means over. The driver sitting right behind Ryan in the points standings, driver of the #24 Argent Mortgage Company Toyota for Team Rahal Letterman, Danica Patrick. Danica has finished in the top four in each of the last three races, including a podium finish at Cleveland. Danica, thank you for taking time to join is today.

DANICA PATRICK: No problem. Thanks.

ERIC MAUK: You had a chance to test out here yesterday. Did you get much running in? What did you think of Road America?

DANICA PATRICK: Yeah, I got some running in till the very end of the day, and just was pushing hard enough to do a little bit of damage. But that's just how you find the limit sometimes. Things are going pretty well, though. We're taking chunks out of the time. I've never been here before, so that was my first day. It's a lot of fun. Fast track, that's for sure.

ERIC MAUK: Danica trails Ryan by just 14, just 27 points away from Jon Fogarty's championship lead, a point total that can be made up in one weekend. You've been in the thick of this title hunt all year long. How do you feel about the way things are going?

DANICA PATRICK: Good and disappointed that we haven't gotten the win in yet because we've worked hard. The team's worked hard. I know I have. We've done everything else but. You know, we've led the championship for a little while. We've qualified on pole. We've finished second, third, but we just haven't gotten that win yet. It's kind of frustrating, but at the same time, you know, I've got to be happy and grateful for those things so far. I do have a good feeling though, it's coming. I'm very hopeful that we'll get that win in for sure before the season's up.

ERIC MAUK: Best of luck this weekend. The Motorock Trans-Am tour is joining us this weekend. Joining us on the phone from Sheboygan, veteran driver of the series making his way up there, Johnny Miller. Johnny, thanks for joining us.

JOHNNY MILLER: Great to be here.

ERIC MAUK: You've made quite a few trips around this 4.048 mile Road America layout. How does this track shape up to most of the tracks you guys run on?

JOHNNY MILLER: You know, this is probably the longest track we run on, has obviously the most highest sustained speeds for us. The Trans-Am cars, we cruise up along the straightaway about 175 miles an hour. It's a lot of fun.

ERIC MAUK: In these cars, these are obviously bigger, heavier, not quite as nimble as the open-wheel cars, what is the trickiest part of this place? Where do you really have to be good to be fast here?

JOHNNY MILLER: Well, for sure it's the carrousel and the kink, that whole section leading down the straightaway to get into Canada corner, to carry all the speed down at the bottom. Just to get the car to turn, these cars inherently push. They just want to go straight at that speed. So it's kind of tough to deal with. But if you get it dialed in right, you can make it through the kink almost flat. It's a trip.

ERIC MAUK: Tell us a little bit about the field this weekend. Obviously, Rocketsports coming off a sweep of the top three. How do you see the battle for the win shaping up this weekend?

JOHNNY MILLER: Well, you know, that's a tough team to beat. I was on that team last year. We'll be definitely racing hard between all of us. Got a lot of respect for those guys. But we put a good program together this year. My first Trans-Am out this year will be this race in a Corvette. I've been on the pole here in the Corvette in 2000, we did pretty good then, had a mechanical failure, sidelined us in the lead. Hopefully we can put another Vette in the front.

ERIC MAUK: Best of luck this weekend. Thanks for joining us.

JOHNNY MILLER: Thank you.

ERIC MAUK: We are also joined by Jonathan Summerton, the 16-year-old young man who is second in the Formula BMW USA points. Jonathan has put together four wins, including back-to-back wins at Cleveland. Thank you for joining us.

JONATHAN SUMMERTON: Thank you.

ERIC MAUK: First go around in the Formula BMW championship, half way there, you're right there in striking distance. How do you feel about the way things are going?

JONATHAN SUMMERTON: At the moment in testing, we were fastest over the weekend so far. So we're looking forward to this weekend, definitely a lot. Coming out of the two wins at Cleveland was a real great push up for me and helping me get out there and look forward to the next race.

ERIC MAUK: Is this the first time you've been at this racetrack?

JONATHAN SUMMERTON: Yes, it is. All the tracks we've been to, first time.

ERIC MAUK: What are your initial impressions of this place?

JONATHAN SUMMERTON: Initial impressions, it's a very long track compared to most of the ones we've been to. It's a very nice course, I think.

ERIC MAUK: Give us your impressions, a lot of people haven't had a chance to come out and see the Formula BMW cars run up close. Tell the media a little about these race cars.

JONATHAN SUMMERTON: The car are a bit smaller than a Formula 1 car, based off of them. The cars have 140 horsepower, carbon-fiber monocoque. Wings, adjustable wings. Just about everything really. They're a great car. Run on Michelin slicks. A lot of fun.

ERIC MAUK: Tell us a little bit about your background.

JONATHAN SUMMERTON: I started out two years ago go-karting, just went from there. Did Rotax Junior, and started -- did a Skip Barber race. That got me into cars. Went over to Valencia, Spain, won a scholarship for Formula BMW USA, and here we are today.

ERIC MAUK: Good deal. Best of luck this weekend. Now we're going to open it up to calls from the media.

Q. Justin, regarding the rookie race, granted there's a little space right now, but the way this has been between you and AJ this season, it could change in the course of one or two races. Do you see this as a race that's going to go pretty much down to the wire?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I believe so. AJ is very quick. We're both in a similar situation where we're in relatively young teams, and the teams are learning very quickly. We're both wanting to be right at the front. I think we're both looking to take on that top step at some point this year as our ultimate goal. That means it's going to push the rookie championship that bit further. We're both very serious and looking to do the best we can.

Q. Why are the rookies now looking like veterans? There's a strong class this year. What do you attribute that to, as someone who raced in F1, what you're seeing now?

JUSTIN WILSON: Well, obviously I came from F1. A bit like what AJ said before, I don't really see myself as a rookie. I don't have the experience in using these rules and driving on these circuits. In that respect I am a rookie. But as far as racing, I've been racing since I was eight years old. Yeah, I don't really consider myself a rookie when it comes down to race day.

Q. AJ, if you could think back to the Champ Car premiere in March at Long Beach, your thoughts anticipating driving a Champ Car. Can you sense how far you've come in these last few brief months?

AJ ALLMENDINGER: There's a difference between where I've come from and where the team's come from. It's been a huge learning curve from the start. I mean, I respected these guys so much when I came into the series and the teams. My respect for everybody has just surpassed anything that I ever believed because it's such a tough series. The cars are very difficult to drive. They're very fun to drive at the same point, except when they handle bad (laughter). So I've had a lot to learn. And the team's been giving me great cars, especially the last few races. As I said, I've made some rookie mistakes throughout the year so far that I'm really hard on myself about because I hate making those mistakes. But, you know, I think Vancouver was just a huge, huge boost of confidence for me because it showed me that I can actually run with these guys, you know, I can do a full race without making many mistakes. When I do that, we can be up front and finish on the podium or even have a chance to win the race. As long as I can continue that, I know RuSPORT and everybody is going to be giving me great cars and the crew is going to be doing a great job. So it's just going be down to me trying to focus on what I need out of me and what I need out of myself. I think with each race that I can continue doing that, we really have a shot by the end of the year to contend for victories.

Q. Seemed like it was very emotional after the race in Vancouver. Is there something about Carl Russo or the mood that he sets in the shop? It seems like you have something going on there. It's not just business; it seems like it's personal.

AJ ALLMENDINGER: Yeah, Carl, especially with me, he is one of my biggest fans. He believes in me. He tells me that every race. You know, it was emotional for me because I just put so much pressure on myself. The last few weeks before that had been hard on me because, as I said, I made mistakes. I hate doing that. I get down on myself for that. I want to push a hundred percent each time I'm in the car. I don't want to make any mistakes. You know, I start to get down on myself when I do. It was just emotional because right as I got out of the car he whispered in my ear that this is where I belong, I belong on the podium, I belong contending for victories. He knows that. It's just the mood he sets in the pits. He is not just a car owner that is out there for blood, that if we make mistakes he's going to rip into us and say we're on the edge of not keeping our jobs. You know, he's in it for the long haul. He knows how difficult this is. I think anybody that saw him on the pit cart, when we crossed the line, knows how much it means to him, that this is not just a hobby to him, this is his passion. He brings that into the pits. And I bring the same. And I think that's why we have such a good relationship. As you said, it's not just a business relationship. He truly cares about me and what's best for me and what's best for the team, and that's what makes his team so strong.

ERIC MAUK: We are now joined by driver of the #6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone for Newman/Haas Racing, Bruno Junqueira, second in the points championship after seven races and the defending race winner here at Road America. Bruno, thank you for joining us today.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Hi, how are you doing?

ERIC MAUK: Good, thanks. Hey, all along, pretty much every stop we've gone this year, we've talked about tracks and races, and you said, "I can't wait to get back to Road America." You're at Road America. How do you feel about going in this weekend?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I feel happy and very confident.

ERIC MAUK: You've won here twice. Your very first Champ Car win was here in 2001. You've lead every race you've won here in the Champ Cars. Is it something about this track that lends itself to your style, anything you can put your finger on?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I think Road America is the nicest racetrack in America. It's a proper road course: long, fast. That brings out the best drivers. I've been very fortunate to do well here over the last three years. I love this track. I always race on these kind of tracks throughout my career here, and I think I drive my best on these kind of tracks. I like a lot to race in Road America. I think that's why I did good success here.

ERIC MAUK: Second in the championship. You come in here with a bunch of confidence. We go from here to Denver next week, a place where you've won twice in a row now. Do you feel this little stretch here is the place you've got to make a move on the championship?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I think the next four races are really good for me, here, Denver, Montreal is a road course as well, and Laguna. I hope I can get really four good races in a row. I hope I can get at least a couple of wins and get the lead back on the championship.

ERIC MAUK: Best of luck this weekend. We'll go back to the media now.

Q. Justin, I think we talked to you just as you had secured this ride and were quite anxious and happy to be joining the Champ Car World Series coming over from Formula 1. There is certainly an increased level of comfort there now. Are you just as jazzed with the series now after you've had quite a few races under your belt as you were as you were heading into it?

JUSTIN WILSON: Oh, yeah, for sure. I'm very pleased with how my progress is going, the Mi-Jack Conquest team's progress is working out, and also Champ Cars. There's no doubt at the start of the year, it had been through a lot over the winter period, and I think everyone is very pleased to see how it's growing and regaining some of the strength it used to have. Everyone's upbeat. It seems like everyone is talking very positive about the future.

Q. Johnny Miller, what are we going to do to get more cars in this series? I know you had a pretty good field with some local ads from the area, but the field in Toronto was kind of light. What is on the horizon for the Motorock series? Can we get some more cars into this deal?

JOHNNY MILLER: I think you'll see more cars showing up for more events, especially towards the end of this year and then into next. There was a lot of uncertainty over the winter. That's kind of affected my deal a little bit. It affected a lot of people. I think that now that all the plans are laid and people have been doing good and races are working out well, the fields are starting to grow. It is kind of going to heal itself is my instinct. Not real close to the political front on that, so I don't have factual answers for you, but that's my opinion anyway.

Q. Justin, a lot is made of the kink in the back straight of Elkhart Lake there, Road America. I guess it's a flat-out kink, so to speak. Does it get your attention? Is it a difficult corner? Does the track itself compare to anything in Europe?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah. As far as the track itself, it's very similar to Brands Hatch GP in England. A bit like (inaudible) in Belgium. It's a great driver's circuit. And the kink is quite important. You need to get through there flat out and carry that speed all the way down the straight. Not only that, you have the carrousel beforehand, which is also a very challenging corner. There's the two right after each other. It gets your blood pumping. It's even more interesting in the wet, as I had a chance to find out the day before we tested in the dry. In the wet, it's very difficult to know where the car's going to be at each lap, but it's quite good fun.

Q. Danica, you've been in Atlantics now for a couple years. You've met with some success. You're challenging for the championship this year. Are you ready for the next step?

DANICA PATRICK: Oh, absolutely. You know, if somebody said, "You're going to race a car next weekend or something," I'd say, "I don't want to go out there and not potentially look as good as I possibly could." With adequate testing, preparation, absolutely. A car is just a car, you know. If you can drive, you can drive.

Q. Bobby Rahal has mentioned that he maybe wants to see you in the Indy 500 next year. Do you think you'd make it a full-time move to either Champ Car or the IndyCars next year?

DANICA PATRICK: I do think I'll make a move to Champ Cars or IndyCars next year. I don't know which one. We've mildly discussed some things but by no means put my name on the bottom of a piece of paper yet. There are things to go through and issues to address. Ultimately, as repetitive as it is, it very much depends on what the sponsor wants and where they want to go.

Q. Bruno, I wanted to ask what it's been like for you to be contending for a championship with your teammate at this point in the season, just the chemistry between you and Sebastien?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: It's been a unique experience, very good and very difficult. Very good is because you can work as a team to make both cars strong and try to finish 1 and 2. But on the other hand a little bit difficult because sometimes when I found something extra, he has as well. And sometimes when he found something extra, I get as well. But I think me and Sebastien are big friends. He's a very nice guy, a very good driver. I respect him a lot. I hope we can be fighting each other till the end of the year. It's better than being fighting with someone of another team. I think the goal for Newman/Haas Racing is finish 1 and 2 in the championship. That is what we are working for.

Q. Just your thoughts about Road America. You've obviously had a lot of success there. The race was a bit of a downer last year with the weather. What are your thoughts going into it this year?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: First, the weather is very nice today. It's very sunny. I hope going to keep that throughout the weekend. For sure Road America is my favorite race of the year. I love this track. Every lap here, I enjoy myself so much. We came test two months ago. I said I just love it. I mean, I think the good opportunity for me to get my first win of the year. I got a win last year. 2001, as well. 2002 I got the pole. Didn't finish after a pit stop problem. This is my favorite track. I enjoy so much. I hope I can have a lot of fun this weekend. I hope I can have my first win of the year.

Q. AJ, you jumped into Champ Car this year and you seem to be handling your on-track responsibilities very well by finishing on the podium for the first time the other week in Vancouver. Can you tell us a little bit about the off-track responsibilities, how they differ from last year to this?

AJ ALLMENDINGER: There's definitely a lot more stuff going on during the weekend, a lot of things that you have to divide between focusing on the race and focusing off the track. But, you know, my PR person, Tara, she does a great job of keeping everything down to a minimum of what I need to do and keeping what I need to be focused on, and that's driving the race car. You know, definitely it's a new experience that I enjoy, just because, you know, this is what I dreamed of my whole life. Over the past couple years, being in the Champ Car ladder system, being a part of it, and more importantly really being around Paul, some of the drivers, seeing what they go through, you know, it's a chance for me to experience. You know, it's just as much fun being at the racetrack and driving the car. It's a new experience of being off track and dealing with all the media stuff that goes on. I enjoy it because, you know, this is part of my life that we go through. I like to make Tara's life difficult when she asks me to do stuff. It's a lot of good fun. I'm enjoying everything that's going on in the Champ Car World Series. 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. That's what we want. That's what we need. There's no place I'd rather be than in the Champ Car World Series and with RuSPORT.

Q. Danica, your boss had a very emotionally trying period at the end of the year. The other day on the south portico of the White House with everyone from Rahal Letterman racing. Is that championship sense or atmosphere bleeding over into the whole organization?

DANICA PATRICK: By the success of the Indy 500, things like that?

Q. Yes.

DANICA PATRICK: Well, I think it does spill over. Everybody's in the same compound back in Columbus. Yeah, as well as everybody gains momentum. Yeah, it's just a good atmosphere. I think the happier you are, the better you do. At least that's my case anyway. What do you mean "emotionally trying time"? I was curious about that.

Q. When he decided to make the switch over to Brand X.

DANICA PATRICK: As much as it was a switchover, it was a departure of one thing, but he still has a car in the Atlantic series and in the BMW series. I guess that's kind of why I didn't understand.

Q. Your television role with Spike, how much more visibility do you have? Have you noticed it's harder for you to go places, people come up and say they recognize you from the things you've done on television?

DANICA PATRICK: No, no, people don't really come up to me. I don't know. They might be staring when I'm turned around, but I don't notice anything at least right now. I think I kind of like it like that. If people did recognize me, that's fine. But when they come up to you, you get a bit of a complex sometimes. I don't know. It's okay. I'm sure as time goes on, as the years go by, as I move up hopefully, and everything goes well, that will get worse or better, however you see it, all the time.

Q. Danica, don't forget, after you win the Atlantic championship, the boss is on speaking terms with the chief executive, it's your turn to get your Argent Mortgage car up on the south lawn of the White House.

DANICA PATRICK: You're exactly right. The Argent car was at the White House because it did say Argent on the side pod.

Q. The Atlantic chassis.

DANICA PATRICK: But with my name on the side of it.

Q. Justin, you've come over here to this side. I'm sure you know the reaction in Europe. They scratch their head why there isn't more interest in F1 over here. You see the size of the crowds where you've gone this year, the Indianapolis 500 is the largest race in the world. Kind of curious how you explain to your friends back home what's going on here in terms of open-wheel racing in North America?

JUSTIN WILSON: A lot of them know exactly what it's all about. They, like myself, have followed Champ Cars for the last, you know, seven, eight, nine, 10 years. So they understand what I'm doing, know what it's all about. I don't have to explain a lot. They realize I'm over here enjoying the racing. That's the main thing. Okay, it's not Formula 1, but it's still a very high-end, single-seater championship which has a lot of recognized drivers in it.

Q. AJ, what do you attribute the difference between your first couple races and what you've done since then? Was it something that you just picked up on right away, did the car just kind of dial in? Did you just become comfortable at that point?

AJ ALLMENDINGER: It's a combination of a lot of things. The team gets better with each race that we do. I get better with each race that I do. I mean, the combination of me learning the car and actually being able to tell the engineers what I want to feel out of it, and then learning the car and knowing what to do to get that feeling. So, as I said, I think now the last couple races I've gotten a great feel of what I want the car to feel like each weekend, where the first three or four races I was just kind of searching what I wanted. At times we'd hit on it, at times we'd really miss it. I think hopefully now you'll start us be more consistent, where we qualify, qualify more up front. That's probably our weakest link right now, it's qualifying. You know, since I guess Portland we've had great cars in the race. And at times we've shown them, and at times the driver has tried to kill himself by throwing it away several times. It's been great just with each time that we learn. That's really what it comes down to is, you know, I mean, being a rookie driver in the series is tough enough, but being a rookie team is even more difficult just because we have no data to follow off of. Each weekend that we gain data, good or bad, we learn from it. We go to the next weekend and start with a better car.

ERIC MAUK: That will bring an end to our Champ Car media teleconference today. I'd like to thank all the media for calling in today and thank all the drivers for participating, wish them best of luck as we go racing at Road America this weekend. Thank you all and have a nice day.

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