CHAMPCAR/CART: Player's Milwaukee preview

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 31, 2001 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier has some pleasant memories of The Milwaukee Mile, the history-steeped short oval that is playing host to Round 5 of the FedEx CART Championship with a 225-lap race on ...

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 31, 2001 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier has some pleasant memories of The Milwaukee Mile, the history-steeped short oval that is playing host to Round 5 of the FedEx CART Championship with a 225-lap race on Sunday.

It's not surprising that Carpentier has a certain fondness for the Milwaukee oval in his first appearance there as a Team Player's driver in 1998 he won the pole and established a qualifying record lap of 20.028 seconds (185.500 miles per hour), a mark that still stands. The pole did not lead to a podium in 1998 but Carpentier took care of that piece of business last year, when he powered his way to a third-place finish on the slightly banked oval.

Carpentier has finished in the top 10 in three of the four years he has competed in Milwaukee. The only time he was unable to make it into the top 10 was the year he won the pole. Past performances in Milwaukee have put Carpentier into an upbeat frame of mind heading into this year's race.

"When you're struggling bit, like Team Player's is right now, it's good to be racing on a track where you've had success in the past," remarked Carpentier, who had the opportunity to take a Harley Davidson for a spin today after touring the Milwaukee facilities of the famed motorcycle manufacturer. "I know that the organizers have big things planned for this year in Milwaukee because it's going to be the 100th time that a Champ Car has raced on The Milwaukee Mile. There's a lot of history to that track and I'd like to add to it by winning there. I'm sure that if we can have a good race in Milwaukee it will get us out of our slump and on our way to better things."

In addition to Carpentier's pole and podium, Team Player's has a victory and a second-place finish on The Milwaukee Mile, courtesy of Greg Moore in 1997 and 1999 respectively.

Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani is no stranger to success on the Milwaukee oval. While he ran into some misfortune in Milwaukee as a CART rookie last season, he reached the podium while driving for Team Player's in the Atlantic series, taking third place in 1998. "It's always fun going to Milwaukee because you can actually see and feel the tradition of racing on that track," stated Tagliani. It's a fast short oval but you've got to be alert at all times because it's quite narrow in places and passing is difficult."

Tagliani said the one-week respite following the long trip to Japan for Round 4 was beneficial because it gave the Team Player's drivers and crew some time to regroup and conduct a thorough analysis of the Ford-powered Player's Reynard car. "The car is still one of the fastest on the track but we've had some problems with reliability that has prevented us from contending, and that's frustrating when you're as competitive as we are on Team Player's," declared Tagliani. "I'm convinced, though, that our luck is about to change."

-Player's

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Series INDYCAR