Detroit, Michigan, June 18, 2000 The Grand Prix of Detroit was most productive for Team Player's today as Canadian drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani steadily threaded their way through the field to finish fifth and sixth respectively in...
Detroit, Michigan, June 18, 2000 The Grand Prix of Detroit was most productive for Team Player's today as Canadian drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani steadily threaded their way through the field to finish fifth and sixth respectively in the seventh FedEx CART Championship race of the season.
Carpentier and Tagliani had started 9th and 14th from the grid and more or less maintained these positions until the final 20 laps of the 84-lap race. However, the combination of two yellow flags and some solid pit work by the Player's crew enabled both drivers to make some significant advances.
The Player's drivers were the only teammates among the eight drivers who finished on the lead lap in the race that was won by Brazil's Helio Castroneves, giving the series its seventh different winner of the season. Italy's Max Papis was second, 4.415 seconds behind, while rookie Oriol Servia of Spain took third for his first CART podium.
"Even though we didn't have the fastest car on the track today we hung in there and picked up some valuable points in the standings," said Carpentier who recorded his third top-5 finish in four races this season. "Toward the end of the race, the front tires were picking up marbles and that was causing it to understeer and making it hard to handle. But overall, we have to be pleased with the way things went. My hat's off to the Player's crew - they did a tremendous job in the pits."
Despite missing three races earlier in the season because of a broken wrist, Carpentier has 34 points in the drivers' standings. He is in 12th place, only 20 points the equivalent of a race win out of second place. Tagliani's strong sixth-place showing got him back into the points and enabled him to move up the rookie standings, where he is currently third with 26 points, 13 behind leader Kenny Brack.
"Considering the fact we had a rough start to the weekend, the sixth-place finish is quite satisfying," said Tagliani. "We may have gone too far with some of the adjustments on the front wing in my first pit stop. But then I went back in for an unscheduled pit stop, where the Player's crew solved the problem. After that, everything went real well and the car was handling just great."
The fifth- and sixth-place finishes were the best combined performance by the Player's drivers this season, surpassing the respective fifth- and ninth-place efforts by Carpentier and Tagliani at Homestead in the season opener.
Team Player's is back in action next weekend on the road course in Portland, Oregon for the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 on Sunday, June 25.