Saturday, July 08, 2006

Amazing AJ! - Strikes Again In Toronto - UPDATED

AJ Allmendinger - Photo credit: Phillip Abbott, USA LAT Photographic

The fairytale run of AJ Allmendinger continues in Toronto!

The first day of qualifying proves that AJ's run of great racing is no fluke. For the third time in three races, AJ can do no better than be on the front row. If his time posted Friday survives today's qualifying session, he will have captured the pole position of the start of the race for the second time in two races. With the way he is running, even if someone betters his time in the first session, he would probably be able to come back and still set best time - we'll see.

Today's final qualifying session begins at 2:20 pm ET

Excerpts from CCWS -

Leading First-Day Champ Car Qualifying at Molson Grand Prix of Toronto

TORONTO (July 7, 2006) - American racing prodigy A.J. Allmendinger (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) continued his march toward the top of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford standings, leading a qualifying session for the third consecutive race, pacing today's opening session at the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto.

Allmendinger snapped off a quick lap of 58.621 seconds (107.777 mph) to lead the first day of qualifying around the 1.755-mile Exhibition Place street circuit, besting former RuSPORT teammate Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) by two-tenths of a second to score the first championship point of the weekend. Nelson Philippe (#34 CTE Racing - HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) put up a quick time of 59.203 seconds (106.718 mph) late in the session to wrest the third spot away from hometown favorite Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone).

The Forsythe Championship Racing driver, who just yesterday signed a deal to extend his stay with the Chicago-based team, used a daring strategy and a new set of red-rimmed alternate Bridgestone Potenzas to take advantage of a rare bit of open track midway through today's 30-minute qualifying session.

Allmendinger was one of the first drivers to pit after his first stint, and was sitting fifth after everyone else had logged their first set of times. Sitting in the pits, Allmendinger and his team realized that every other car was on the Pit Lane as well, and decided to roll out ahead of everyone else for their second stint.

"My engineer asked me if I wanted to go out or if I wanted to wait, because the track usually gets better with every lap somebody runs on it, and there were still 10 minutes left in the session," Allmendinger said. "But we decided to go out and take advantage of the clear track and we ran three good, clean laps."
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Justin Wilson, AJ's former team-mate, pulls out a last lap of session pole position over AJ by .082 seconds. Read the blow-by-blow of the qualifying session here>>!

So, it's Wilson and Allmendinger on the front row, followed by Bourdais and Tracy - This will prove to be an interesting start!

Race tomorrow on CBS starting at 9:30 AM PST

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