Champ Car World Series: Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare
Topics: Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare
ERIC MAUK: Ladies and gentlemen, we'll go ahead and get started with our post-race press conference for the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver Presented by Pacificare, Round 9 of the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford. We have the Top-3 finishers today. A.J., tell us how it went.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: That was a struggle. We seemed to have a pretty good car in the first like 10 laps of a run and then we kind of just -- were all weekend kind of missing the setup on from 10 laps on, so you know, I just came in with the attitude this weekend that -- the last three weeks were quite disappointing. I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself. It was more about going out there and have fun. The Top-3 guys kind have had a dominant weekend over everybody so I was just trying to be in the Top 5. PT made a mistake. I was trying to stay calm. I thought maybe I would get second, but Mario put the move on me in the last lap. I am thrilled. Finally get Western Union/RuSPORT on the podium. Red Bull is a big supporter and we have got some of the Red Bull guys out of a couple different areas. It's going to be a fun night. I am happy to be here on the podium.
ERIC MAUK: Tell us what you did, how you handled the start. You made a few positions right there. Come out of that first turn in second place -
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: I got a good run. I kind of had an edge over Mario going into Turn 1 and, you know, PT ran a bit wide into Turn 1 and moved Sebastien out. Once you get out that wide, it's quite slippery. I was able to duck into Sebastien and come out second. From the replay it looks like that I was lucky just to miss the mess behind me.
ERIC MAUK: Mario Dominguez, you came back and had strong laps and finished second. Tell us about it.
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: Yeah, it was a tough race to say the least. My car was very good. The start wasn't very good, I don't know what happened really, just lost a couple of places or one place there to A.J.. we managed, Sebastien and I managed to get by him. Sebastien and I were just running together all the time. I feel so sorry that PT, my teammate, couldn't win the race because it was really his race. He ran quick all weekend. He was fast and that was very, very unfortunate. And then to top things off, I went -- I almost lost the podium because I made a mistake and I pressed the water button instead of the radio. All the water splashed in the helmet. So it got all dirty, then it just started to fog up, like fogging up really bad. In fact, during the yellow I had to take off my glove completely, tried to wipe it from the inside and put it back on again. That was a mess. Had to drive with my leg on the yellow. Bit of a mess. So bad I lost concentration, missed the breaking point. I figured, oh, my -- I just had to go through the run-off area because I didn't want to risk not finishing the race. Then I said to myself if I don't make the podium they are going to kill me. So I did.
ERIC MAUK: Talk about the last pass at A.J.. At that time he had five seconds; you had 11. Did you know you had enough for maybe an extra shot there?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: I sort of timed it. A.J. was very good at the beginning. His car started to sort of lose traction. When I saw those two back markers, I said, this is my chance, so I was slowing down a little bit and I was able to get a run on him and made the pass. He almost got me back on the exit but managed to do it at the end. That was a lot of fun to say the least.
ERIC MAUK: Congratulations. The winner of the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver Presented by Pacificare, Sebastien Bourdais. Sebastien, you kind of followed Paul for a little while, but when you needed it, you had it at the end. Tell us about it how it went.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: The start, I took my chance, I said I was going to go for it and PT went for it too, but the truth is I should have tried to keep my second place because by braking late on the outside I was on the perfect line on the braking that PT was going to shoot long, trying to match my braking distance and that's exactly what happened and then he pushed me in the dirt and then that was the end of the story for me at the start A.J. got a run on us and I was surprised that Mario didn't get an advantage on it too because put me in the situation that really wasn't -- not that very comfortable and after that I really worked hard to try and get by A.J. as soon as I could because obviously I knew I was going to damage my tires. I could see PT running away. I knew he was planning to run hard and as fast as he could the whole race so he wasn't going to let anything going bad. When I finally got by A.J., then I went to work, but by that time the tires were really damaged. I could only match PT's lap time and that really wasn't much. I could do about it 9 or 10 seconds down the way down the road so not much to expect except the yellow. Never happened. So second set of tires, I had to work again. We were catching him about five, ten seconds on average a lap which was satisfying but would take us a while to get to him, so quite honestly I wasn't expecting to win the race from that point. Maybe I am going to catch him but so what, you know. It got better than that, made the same mistake I made this morning. Hit the wall and bounced back in the exit on the outside and that was the end of the story for him. It wasn't really many reasons to push except to secure the fastest lap, especially the point, you know, didn't really -- if you crash leading the race with ten seconds you look stupid, so...
ERIC MAUK: You mentioned that you almost kind of resigned yourself to running second, you would have left here with the points lead any way. Now all of a sudden you are walking out with a pretty big lead.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I saw the replay on the big screen, I was like minus one, and when I saw PT in the wall, I was very surprised because PT makes very few mistakes and that's not the kind of mistake he makes when he's up front like that. I am just glad we did it. Second year in a row it was very important for us for Centrix and PacifiCare, for everybody.
Q. What happened with your incident this morning?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Bent the steering out and the steering was not straight anymore and I was pretty confident the car was pretty good, so we just warmed up this morning. I was surprised it was just early in the run and it takes a while, the tires coming -- just anticipated a bit of understeer and sure enough, the thing turned right away. Boom, that was a different deal for PT because it was way later in the run, so tried to get too close to the wall. That's the best I can say. Same mistake except I didn't crash on him. Just brushed the wall on the inside.
Q. A.J., you had been struggling recently, how does it feel to put a good run together.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: It shows that I remember how to finish a race. It's good for many reasons, to get the team back in, it gives me my confidence back. I just, like I said, I kind of came with the attitude of not putting a lot of pressure on myself, just to go out and winning the race will come when it comes. I go out there to try and have fun now and relax and you know, make Sebastien work hard for seven laps, and so doing that, it's fun.
Q. A.J., you got passed in Turn Nine twice, was that a problem area for you?
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Really just comes from turn 8, tires got old, I was quite loose coming on the back straight-a-way and the one time Sebastien -- the first time he tried to get a run on me he came from like two-car lengths back and I knew he was going to come in deep and got him back. Second time he had a huge run on me. As the tires got old, it was really hard for me to brake right there and same thing with Mario, I was surprised I held him off that long and when he got the run on me on the back straight-a-way, I was just kind of a sitting duck. Hopefully he will make the same mistake Sebastien made the first time, almost did. Third, I was quite pleased with coming away with that
Q. Sebastien, you looked like you will a bit il today. How do you feel and did it affect you?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I am just a bit tired with all the travelling and I get anything that's going by and it starts with a sore throat; next day I am screwed, surprisingly enough I was sick in Long Beach and I won. I was sick in Edmonton and I won. I was sick here and we won. Maybe that's the recipe.
Q. Mario, tell us about what you think about how things went for Paul.
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: That's surprising for Paul. Like I said, I feel terrible that happened. I think mostly everybody was being very good about moving over except for Wirdheim, he held me up for a while; that's when Sebastien pulled away because him and I were just together all the time. With him, I don't know what he was thinking with two laps. So everybody else was, I thought was pretty good about that. But that was very, very unfortunate with Paul.
Q. Timo Glock was giving you problems when you were fighting for third, you almost had him, and then you fell back. Any cause for that?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: He was driving fast. He really was, A.J. too. I think a lot of guys were fast, but for a few laps only and then the cars started to go away, some cars went away quicker than others. My car went away, but it just took longer for it to go away. He was fast, after I made the mistake, I cut him, then he started to drive like super fast and we started to catch A.J., but he started to make a few mistakes and I wouldn't be surprised he broke the gearbox on the -- or the breaker or something because I could see that he was making a lot of mistakes so I just tried to put as much pressure as I could on him.
Q. Were you conserving fuel there the last part of that segment or what was going on there?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I couldn't push really hard anymore on the braking so I was just saving fuel in that way just trying not to abuse the tires too much, to reach the end of the stint. PT wasn't pulling away from us anymore. Unfortunately we had a terrible pit spot, the first time so I was looking at the back of the cars, oh, my God, it's going to take a while. It never happened. The guys are extremely good, sometimes when the thing spins and hits the ground and runs away, like holy crap, go and get that. Just you know, it was quite frustrating. I was very surprised to see how long the pit stop was. Just been very good at saving fuel here without even really trying. That was important.
Q. How do you think PT will do next week? How do you think he's feeling right now?
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: I am sure he's very upset to say the least, but PT is a winner. He's always proven that I am sure he will come back and win the next race, that's the type of guy he is. He's very fast and I am very happy to be his teammate. He has been great to me. I think we make a good team together, so hopefully next race we're hoping for a win, but it just didn't happen. Hopefully we can get it soon.
Q. How do you guys feel about the Denver event?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I think it went great. Obviously the grand stands were full today. The weather really played bad for us the first two days. It was like a 50/50 chance for rain so I guess people kind of bailed out a little. Definitely a great run and it was filled out today. So I think Centrix Financial did an awesome job to promote this event. It's one of the best venues on Champ Car right now.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: The new ownership has taken over trying to rebuild the name and promote it and Denver does a great job, probably in the States more than I have ever seen than any other races we have had in the States. So if we can get all the events in the U.S. to become like that, and have just promotion and great fans that love Champ Car Racing and understand it and come out. I think Champ Car has done a great job all year with the attendance numbers that they have had and the great figures and just the great events that we have been able to put on, it's just only getting stronger and stronger with each event and each year that we go through. I am excited for the future of Champ Car. And for my home race, it's nice to be able to be on the podium and just have a great race for one.
MARIO DOMINGUEZ: It was an awesome event. Had I known that the winner was going to get a motorcycle and a watch, it would have been a different story. (Laughs) but no, I had no idea. But no, that was awesome. The fact that the promotors of the event went to do that for the race winner means a lot to the drivers, means a lot to the event and just shows how great the support we have here and it's amazing just every year this is getting bigger, seems like every year they are promoting it a little better. I am very happy about that. I came. There's a lot of Mexican people, a lot of Mexico fans out there and there wasn't I think any promotion towards the Latin American community here. So if they do a little bit of that, they could raise their ticket sales quite a bit more. It was great. I couldn't say enough about the people here in Denver.
Q. How do you like your motorcycle?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I am very happy. It's not the kind of bike I have been riding, but I got my first motorbike when I was three years old. So definitely I know a bit about motorbikes and just try and not break my back like a few others did and hopefully just get to enjoy it. I am sure my girlfriend is going to hate that.
A.J. ALLMENDINGER: She looked excited when you got on it. I think she's excited you guys riding home back to Florida.
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