CHAMPCAR/CART: Chigago Player's Racing preview

Cicero, Illinois, July 27, 2000 Seven weeks ago, Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier was in 19th place in the FedEx CART Championship drivers' standings. Heading into this Sunday's Target Grand Prix of Chicago, Carpentier is in eighth place...

Cicero, Illinois, July 27, 2000 Seven weeks ago, Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier was in 19th place in the FedEx CART Championship drivers' standings. Heading into this Sunday's Target Grand Prix of Chicago, Carpentier is in eighth place and only 15 points from moving into third.

The Canadian driver, who missed Rounds 2, 3 and 4 in the series because of a wrist injury, has collected 55 points in his last six races. His charge up the standings began on June 4 on the 1-mile oval at Milwaukee, where he reached the podium with a third-place finish. Carpentier has been in the top 10 in all five races since Milwaukee, including three times in the top 5. With 65 points, Carpentier has already surpassed the 61 points he compiled for the entire 1999 CART season.

"I'm happy with the consistency in recent races but there's still lots of room for improvement," remarked Carpentier. "My goal in every race is to get a win, or at least a podium, and I know that we still have to raise our performance level a notch or two if we want to accomplish that objective."

A year ago, Carpentier competed in the inaugural Grand Prix of Chicago after a one-race absence because of an injury he sustained at the Grand Prix of Detroit.

"I feel much better heading into Chicago this year," remarked Carpentier. "There was still some discomfort in my chest and back during last year's race. Despite that, we managed to match our best performance of the season on an oval with a sixth-place finish. I like the track and the whole atmosphere surrounding the Chicago race and I'm looking for us to be even stronger there this year.

"The Team Player's crew provided an outstanding car for last Sunday's race on the super-oval in Michigan and there is every reason to believe we'll have an extremely competitive car on the short oval in Chicago. We've been building momentum with each race and now it's time to ride that momentum to a place on the podium."

Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani will be making his first CART start on the Chicago short-oval. The Team Player's rookie has performed well on oval configurations this season he won the pole in Brazil and he's had the lead in three of the six oval-track events, including last week's Michigan 500, where he was the mid-race leader until the car caught a bump and spun off the track.

"Competing on my first super-oval just before the shorter Chicago oval was a good way to prepare for this weekend's event," said Tagliani. "Although we weren't able to finish the Michigan 500, it was a valuable learning experience and I intend to apply some of that learning to come back strong in Chicago.

"We've had leads in the past and now it's a matter of putting everything together to make sure we're right there at the finish. We've had a consistently reliable car on ovals this year and that's a tribute to the hard work by the Team Player's crew. I really want to do well in Chicago to reward them for the great job they've been doing."

Racing fans can follow the progress of Team Player's by logging on to the web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the Target Grand Prix of Chicago live on The Sports Network at 4 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani