Homestead, Florida, March 24, 2000 - Patrick Carpentier posted the third-fastest time and his Player's teammate Alex Tagliani was eighth, the second-best performance by a rookie, as FedEx CART Championship drivers prepared for Sunday's ...
Homestead, Florida, March 24, 2000 - Patrick Carpentier posted the third-fastest time and his Player's teammate Alex Tagliani was eighth, the second-best performance by a rookie, as FedEx CART Championship drivers prepared for Sunday's season-opening race with a practice session on the 1.502-mile Homestead oval.
Carpentier turned in a fast lap of 26.590 seconds (203.355 miles per hour) on a wind-swept track, a mere 0.177 seconds behind leader Tony Kanaan and a mere two-hundreds of a second back of Christian Fittipaldi. The only CART rookie to record a better time than the 26.743 seconds clocked by Tagliani was Sweden's Kenny Brack, who was sixth in 26.624 seconds.
"Overall, I'd have to say we're satisfied with being third on the day," remarked Carpentier, who is poised to continue the Team Player's success at this event, which it has won in two of the last five years, including last season. "We ran the afternoon session on full tanks because we were happy with the way the car ran on empty in the morning. That's the strategy we elected to use in today's practice session and I think Team Player's did the job extremely well."
Tagliani, in his CART debut after a productive career in the Atlantic series, maintained his poise after being involved in an incident in the morning session, when his car spun out and ran into Tony Kanaan's pit area, striking three people. The people were taken to the medical centre for attention and were released a short while later.
"This was a very unfortunate incident and the team takes full responsibility for what happened," said Neil Micklewright, Vice-President of Operations for Player's Racing. "We did not properly balance the front and rear brake pressure. Alex is not to blame for it."
Overall, Tagliani expressed satisfaction with his introduction to the CART series.
"We could have posted a quicker time but the Player's team decided to stick to the original schedule and we worked mainly on race set-up in the afternoon session," he explained. "Like everyone else, we are experiencing a lot of push because of the high winds, but we are pretty happy to be up there among the fastest drivers."
Both drivers will be on the track for Saturday's qualifying session, where Team Player's will try to earn the pole for the third straight year.
Racing fans can watch the 150-lap Grand Prix of Miami live on The Sports Network starting at 2 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. y