Darren Manning Denver column

I'm told that my eighth place in Denver was my eighth consecutive top-10 finish, setting a Champ Car record for rookies. That's good. However, I don't want to become known as Mr Average.

Darren Manning Denver column

Actually, Walker Racing had a good showing in Denver for RAC Windscreens and our new sponsor, Sportsbook.com. The weekend started well because I qualified third on the first day, a season best for me. It was great to roll out of the truck with a fast car and it showed that we had learned from our experiences in Mid-Ohio and Montreal.

On Saturday morning, though, the car was just massively loose. It felt like there was a problem with the differential, so we missed the last 30 minutes of practice and changed everything for qualifying, including the diff. Then the car was good again, but after the way it was in the morning, I didn't have the confidence to really lean on it. I still did a time within 0.4 seconds of pole, but dropped to seventh on the grid.

We thought we would run out of brakes in the race, so we put on extra-large front ducts, but we hadn't tested them with the Penske front wing we are now running, so the combination just destroyed the mid-corner aerodynamics. We added masses of front wing during the race - I'm talking five turns - but it was still pushing and it was just a nightmare to drive. A bit disappointing, but that's what happens when you run things you don't have any information on.

I still had some good battles with Michel Jourdain Jr and Alex Tagliani. And naturally it was good to get another helping of points. But we're still learning, even at this point in the season. I guess that's good.

The Champ Car series now has three weeks off, so I'm looking forward to coming home to England for an extended visit with my family. I'll also be at the Goodwood Revival meeting, running a Ford GT40 and a lightweight Jaguar E-type, so I look forward to seeing lots of AUTOSPORT readers there. Most of all, it will be good to relax for a few days following nine races in 12 weeks.

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