CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: Team Players preview

Molson Indy Montreal: Team Player's seeks to complete a Canadian sweep in farewell home race Montreal, Quebec, August 18, 2003 There is no shortage of incentives for Team Player's at this weekend's Molson Indy Montreal, the 14th race on the ...

Molson Indy Montreal: Team Player's seeks to complete a Canadian sweep in farewell home race

Montreal, Quebec, August 18, 2003 There is no shortage of incentives for Team Player's at this weekend's Molson Indy Montreal, the 14th race on the 19-event Champ Car World Series' schedule.

It is the continuation of a torrid battle for the championship, currently led by Paul Tracy of Team Player's. It is the homecoming of the native son, Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier, who grew up a handful of kilometres from Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, the venue for Sunday's 75-lap race. It is the last of the three Canadian stops on the Champ Car World Series circuit and Team Player's, with victories by Tracy in Toronto and Vancouver, is in a position for a Canadian sweep.

Topping the list, it is the farewell race for the team's sponsor, Player's, in front of Canadian racing fans. After 42 years of motorsports' involvement in Canada, including 10 as a Champ Car team owner and sponsor, Player's is reluctantly bowing out at the end of the 2003 season as a result of the impending federal government ban on tobacco-company sponsorships.

"We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished in racing over the years," said Bob Bexon, the president and CEO of Imperial Tobacco Canada and the overseer of the Team Player's operation. "It's the end of an era for Team Player's and we are deeply indebted to the fans in Canada and throughout the world who have so faithfully supported Team Player's. I know that all of us on Team Player's were simply overwhelmed by the fan response last year, when the Champ Cars came to Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve for the first time."

Team Player's is heading to Molson Indy Montreal fresh off the best performance in its Champ Car history, as Tracy and Carpentier were 1-2 on the podium at Mid-Ohio in the last race. It was the sixth victory of the season for Tracy, who is eager to add to that total by winning on the 2.709-mile permanent road course in Montreal.

"Sweeping all three races in Canada would be absolutely great," said Tracy. "I can't think of a better way for Player's to mark its final race in Canada than to have a 1-2 finish in Montreal. Finishing 1-2 in consecutive races is certainly a tough thing to do, but we had the fastest cars at Mid-Ohio and if we can be quick right from the get-go in Montreal, anything can happen. We're certainly going to give it our best shot."

Carpentier still gets shivers when he recalls the incredible fan adulation he received last year in Montreal, at his first Champ Car race in front of his home crowd.

"It's something I will never forget," he remarked. "I wanted to do well so badly, it was a huge disappointment when we were unable to finish the race, after getting into second place at one point. It was a great thrill for Paul when he returned home to Toronto and won there last month. I want to the same thing in Montreal, to reward the fans and Player's for the support they have given me over the years."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at Molson Indy Toronto throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on the Global network at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy