CHAMPCAR/CART: Detroit Team Player's Friday report

Detroit, Michigan, June 15, 2001 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier clocked the second fastest lap in Friday's Fed Ex CART Championship practice session at the Grand Prix of Detroit, covering the 2.346-mile street course in a time of 1...

Detroit, Michigan, June 15, 2001 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier clocked the second fastest lap in Friday's Fed Ex CART Championship practice session at the Grand Prix of Detroit, covering the 2.346-mile street course in a time of 1 minute, 15.126 seconds for a speed of 112.419 miles per hour.

That fast lap momentarily put Carpentier atop the leader board, but Scotland's Dario Franchitti turned a quick lap about three-tenths of a second faster for the top performance of the session in preparation for Sunday's race, the seventh of the season on the CART schedule. Carpentier's was the fastest Ford-engine car, a strong showing for the manufacturer that is competing in the city where its headquarters are based.

"We had a very fast car," said Carpentier, who finished fifth in last year's race in Detroit. "We were using a new component in the suspension that was developed by Team Player's on the testing rig and in the wind tunnel and it worked really well. We also had some new components in the front wing. We improved the car every time we made changes, and for the first time in quite a while, we didn't lose time in the pits. I'm pretty happy, even though we weren't able to have much track time in the morning."

Ford asked its teams (eight cars) not to go out on the track for the first hour and a quarter of the two-hour morning practice run while the engine manufacturer tried to resolve a dispute with CART. The issue arose after Ford learned five minutes prior to the start of the morning practice session that CART had unexpectedly mandated the use of a new, three-quarter inch spacer device on the bottom of the pop-off valve, starting with the Detroit event. "After a period of time, it was clear that the issue wasn't going to be resolved quickly, so we gave the go-ahead to the teams to participate in the rest of the morning session," explained Ian Bisco, Vice-President, Cosworth Racing.

Carpentier masterfully handled the steamy weather and the at times bumpy track conditions. "I came on a fast straight going 170 miles an hour and hit a bump that caused the front wheels to go about a foot off the ground before they came back down," related Carpentier. "It felt like driving a dirt bike."

Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani put in the 17th fastest lap of the Friday session. He described the session as productive because Team Player's made a number of changes to the car throughout the day and was able to learn a lot from the different set-ups.

"In the end, we found that Patrick's set-up seemed to work really well, so we will go back to those set-ups," said Tagliani, who had an impressive sixth-place finish in Detroit last year, his rookie season. "We expect things to go better on Saturday morning, and let's hope I get a clear lap for qualifying."

Racing fans can follow the progress of Team Player's throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race on tape delay on The Sports Network at 8 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

-Team Player's

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Dario Franchitti