Misfortune strikes twice on the Milwaukee Mile for Team Player'S drivers Carpentier and Tagliani.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 2, 2002 Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani endured the same fate on Sunday as electrical problems forced them to retire from the 250-lap FedEx CART Championship race on the Milwaukee Mile oval on laps 100 and 39 respectively.
Carpentier's misfortune occurred shortly after a brilliant first pit stop had enabled him to move from fifth place to second, behind leader Paul Tracy. Carpentier's car had a considerable loss of power and he brought the car back into the pits, where the Team Player's crew changed the battery but the same electrical power drain occurred after he ran a few laps, forcing him to retire.
Tracy, who along with Carpentier and Tagliani forms the Canadian driver contingent in the CART series, went on to win the race ahead of Mexico's Adrian Fernandez and Italy's Max Papis. It was the first race victory by Tracy since winning the Molson Indy Vancouver in September, 2000.
"This was shaping up to be an excellent race for us until the problem occurred," remarked Carpentier. "Our first pit stop was outstanding. When I came into the pits, the fueller had less methanol to pour in because I had a chance to conserve fuel and the guys did a really fantastic job giving for tires and sending me out so quickly."
"We came out right behind the leader and I was convinced that with another great job the next time we pitted, we'd be able to gain the lead. Unfortunately, we'll never know whether that would have been the case."
Like his teammate, Tagliani had a smooth-handling car that was running in the top 10 and seemed destined to be in contention at the end until the electrical problem unexpectedly arose.
"It's sad for Team Player's because we overcame adversity during practice and the car was running really well in the race," explained Tagliani. "Unfortunately, the battery was overloaded because of an electrical problem and the team called me into the pits early. I lost six or seven laps while they changed the electronic box and the battery and I went out again but it only lasted for seven laps. The team told me to come in and that was it for our race.
"It's frustrating to have something like that happen. At the start of the race, we were able to make up a few places and we were conserving fuel. We were in a position to have a really good race. It hurts not to get some points in the standings, but the championship is basically just starting and the only thing we can do is look to Laguna Seca and a return to the road-course events."
Mexico' Michel Jourdain Jr., who finished fifth in today's race, took over the points lead in the CART drivers championship. With 42 points, he is seven ahead of Dario Franchitti and has a 10-point edge over Tracy and Papis.
Tagliani and Carpentier, who stand 10th and 13th respectively with 26 and 18 points, will have an opportunity to make up some ground on the Laguna Seca road course when Round 5 of the CART championship takes place next Sunday, June 9.