CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Team Player's preview

Team Player's hits the streets of Long Beach as CART schedule resumes. Long Beach, California, April 11, 2002 With one race under their belts and two highly productive testing sessions during the one-month break in the FedEx CART Championship...

Team Player's hits the streets of Long Beach as CART schedule resumes.

Long Beach, California, April 11, 2002 With one race under their belts and two highly productive testing sessions during the one-month break in the FedEx CART Championship schedule, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani are eagerly awaiting Round 2 of the series on the streets of Long Beach this weekend.

The opening race of the season in Monterrey, Mexico, last month produced a fifth-place finish by Tagliani and a seventh by Carpentier, who moved up 10 positions during the race. The results enabled Tagliani and Carpentier to compile 10 and six points respectively in the drivers' standings. While that was a considerable improvement over the opening race last year, both of the Team Player's drivers are determined to show in Long Beach that they are indeed championship contenders in the 2002 CART season.

"The testing that we did a few weeks ago at Sebring in preparation for Long Beach was excellent, and Team Player's has every right to be confident going into the race," said Carpentier. "Long Beach is a track where some of the new rules are going to come into play, especially with all of us being able to go out as one group for qualifying and then, during the race, not having to be concerned about fuel consumption as we did in the past. On a track where passing is difficult, these things could be big factors in deciding the outcome."

Carpentier's visit to Long Beach last season was not a pleasant one, as he sustained a broken bone in his wrist after he was cut off by another car and his hand got caught in the steering wheel as he tried to avoid the contact.

"I can't say that I've had a lot of luck racing in Long Beach over the years. Team Player's has consistently had a competitive car for that street course but something always seems to happen to us," he remarked. "But this is another year and the approach I'm taking is to forget about what's happened in the past and just focus on this year's race."

Tagliani, who will join Carpentier at Team Player's Indianapolis race shop on Tuesday for the shooting of a fashion spread that will appear in the July/August issue of RAZOR magazine, said that while it was gratifying to pick up some points in the season-opener, there is plenty of room for improvement and Long Beach is a track that is likely to bring out the best in him.

"It's always a lot of fun racing in Long Beach because the fans are so into it and there are so many activities surrounding race weekend," explains Tagliani. "As a driver, you really get caught up in the atmosphere and it gets you into a racing mode. I've always had some good vibes in Long Beach. I can't explain why but there are some tracks on the CART circuit that you just feel more comfortable on, and for me, Long Beach is one of them. Maybe it's the fact I won two races here when I was in the Atlantic series and then just missed getting on the podium in my rookie season in CART two years ago."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the 90-lap Grand Prix of Long Beach throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race on The Sports Network on tape delay at 5:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani