Long Beach Driver Interviews
Long Beach, CA, April 18, 2004 ó Julie Andre scoured the Long Beach pit lane and paddock looking for
drivers to answer her questions on the push to pass button, what opportunities were they looking at during the bankruptcy hearings, qualifying, and their training regimen.
JULIE: Have you had the opportunity to use the push to pass button? If so, what are your thoughts about it?
DOMINGUEZ: Yeah, I tested it in Sebring. I think it is going to be a good addition. It gives you quite a bit of horsepower so if you are right behind someone you will be able to get right next to them. I think it is a good idea, especially when we are racing on courses where it is hard to pass.
HUNTER-REAY: The push to pass button seems like it is going to be good for the fans. It should be good.
JUNQUEIRA: I tested it. I think it is a great idea, something that will make racing more exciting with more passing.
BOURDAIS: I like it because it gives you a pretty good shot at the guy in front of you. But you still need to be close to the guy. You are not going to drive by him and say "oh, bye." It is not going to happen like that. You have to save some for when there is about three laps to go when there might be a yellow, because if there is a restart everyone is going to use it and you are going to be in big trouble. I have tested it in Sebring and Fontana.
WILSON: We were allowed two seconds during the morning warm up session but the way things turned out we didnít get to. I tried it on my in lap just down the back straight and it felt pretty good, but it is hard to know until race time whether it will be helpful.
JULIE: When Champ Car was going through bankruptcy proceedings and the survival of the series was unclear what other racing series or opportunities were you looking at?
DOMINGUEZ: I just looked at CART really, that was the series I was focusing my attention on.
HUNTER-REAY: I had full faith in the series and the people who are behind it. That is what kept me going in this direction. I kept some options open, and I had some offers from the oval series, and I had an option to go over to Europe to race F3000 but I wanted to stay here.
JUNQUEIRA: I wasnít looking anywhere else because I had a contract with Newman-Haas racing. I would have to race with them regardless.
WILSON: I was waiting to see what would happen with the F1 ruling and while that was going on the CART thing was happening. I was hoping that I was in a position to stay on in F1 in some capacity but that didnít happen and at the same time CART came together.
JULIE: Last year CART tried single car qualifying on some of the road courses and now for the Long Beach race they are having everyone qualify as one group again. Which method do you prefer?
DOMINGUEZ: It was fun to have single car qualifying, but you have to do it on tracks that are really short like Miami or England. You canít do it on really long tracks like Long Beach.
HUNTER-REAY: Today it screwed me, but that is how it goes. They need to change things like when the driver is stalled on the track; he doesnít get out of his car. That is what happened today and killed all of the time.
JUNQUEIRA: I like single car qualifying. I think sometimes it is fairer, but for sure qualifying as one group is more exciting for the fans.
BOURDAIS: I think it can be a very good thing for the driver because at least it is fair for everyone except when the track conditions change. I mean it is very difficult to get a system that will work for everyone. Maybe three cars on the track at a time with the same procedures one lap to warm up and two timed laps might be good.
JULIE: What was your training regimen during the off-season?
DOMINGUEZ: I did a lot of go-karting, going to the gym everyday focusing on cardio and lifting weights.
JUNQUEIRA: I did a lot of cycling, a little bit of weight lifting, and some pilates. I didnít do any go-karting.
BOURDAIS: It has been a very long winter. I got sick a few times. You start looking good, looking good and then you get sick and it sets you ten steps back again. I have been doing a lot of cycling. I used to train with Bruno but I live in Tampa and he lives in Miami.
JULIE: What would you consider a successful year? (Rookie)
WILSON: I am here to try and win races. The first part of the season we have to learn and understand how to consistently make these cars quick and then hopefully by the end of the season we can be challenging and if we are at the right place at the right time we can pick up a win.
Copyright © 2004 by Julie Andre and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.