West Allis, Wisconsin, June 5, 2000 The rain-delayed Miller Lite 225 was worth the wait for Team Player's as Patrick Carpentier skillfully drove to a third-place finish today to earn his third career podium and the 30th overall by the ...
West Allis, Wisconsin, June 5, 2000 The rain-delayed Miller Lite 225 was worth the wait for Team Player's as Patrick Carpentier skillfully drove to a third-place finish today to earn his third career podium and the 30th overall by the Player's team in the FedEx CART Championship series.
The race was postponed for a day after rain washed out the scheduled Sunday start. Carpentier, who qualified third on the grid, made a flawless pass of Dario Franchitti to get into second early in the race and held that position for more than 50 laps, constantly pressing leader and eventual winner Juan Montoya of Colombia. Carpentier was briefly fourth following the second round of pit stops, but settled into third with under 10 laps to go, after Brazilian Gil de Ferran went in for a splash. American Michael Andretti completed the podium with a second-place finish.
"I'm really pleased to get a podium finish," said Carpentier, whose other podium with Team Player's came last September in Vancouver, when he finished second at the Molson Indy. "The Player's team deserves a lot of credit for delivering an extremely competitive car. Towards the end of the race, it was getting a bit loose, but that was the same for everyone.
"I would have liked to be on the top step of the podium, but it's a long season and I think we can confidently say that, based on today's showing, we're going to reach that top step soon."
Today's podium finish by Carpentier was all the more remarkable because it came in his first full race weekend since returning from a broken left wrist that sidelined him for seven weeks. Carpentier raced at Nazareth last weekend, but he had little preparation time because it was a re-scheduled race from April 9, when the grid was set.
"I went into this weekend wanting to put my wrist to the test and it held up just fine," remarked Carpentier," who has finished in the top 5 in two of the three races in which he has competed thus far.
Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani had to retire from today's race on lap 27. Tagliani had finished refueling, but when the car was brought down, the clutch slipped into first gear and the car jerked forward.
"There was a drag in the clutch that caused it overheat," explained Tagliani's engineer Alex Timmermans. "When the car jerked forward, some fuel got spilled and it started a small fire that we were quickly able to extinguish."
The Team Player's drivers have a busy week ahead, with testing sessions on the Mid-Ohio road course on Wednesday and Thursday before heading to Bagotville, Quebec, where the Player's Champ Car will go up against a CF-18 aircraft on Saturday in a speed showdown that is part of the Ville de La Baie's International Air Show.