Monterey, California, September 12, 1999 - Patrick Carpentier of the Player's team impressively worked his way from 15th on the starting grid to finish ninth at today's Grand Prix of Monterey, his third straight top-10 performance and his ninth...
Monterey, California, September 12, 1999 - Patrick Carpentier of the Player's team impressively worked his way from 15th on the starting grid to finish ninth at today's Grand Prix of Monterey, his third straight top-10 performance and his ninth of the season in the 1999 FedEx CART Championship.
Carpentier's teammate Greg Moore, of Maple Ridge, B.C., was forced to retire from the 83-lap race on the Laguna Seca road course after contact with Scotland's Dario Franchitti on lap 32. The event was won from the pole by American Bryan Herta, his second career CART triumph, both of which have come at Laguna Seca.
"I have to tip my hat to our Player's team for their hard work and shrewd pit strategy," said Carpentier, the Joliette, Que., driver who drove to a second-place finish in Vancouver last weekend.
The steady and cool-headed Carpentier made his biggest gain in today's race during the round of pit stops that started on lap 53. By the time most of the field had pitted, Carpentier moved from 15th place to 11th and then got into ninth place, which he maintained for the final 15 laps.
"I really wanted to pass Juan (Montoya) and get into eighth, but I was afraid the engine would shut off at the wrong moment," commented Carpentier. "The engine kept cutting off between shifts and this threw off all the rhythm for trying a pass. "
Carpentier said the immediate goal is to try to get into 10th place in the drivers' standings in the final three races of the season. Carpentier is currently in 13th place with 61 points, only one point back of Herta and seven behind 11th-place Tony Kanaan. Jimmy Vasser is 10th with 94 points, three fewer than the ninth-place Moore.
Moore, who started from the fifth position on the grid, was running well in the early part of the race and he felt he had the car to deliver a top-5 finish. However, the contact with Franchitti on lap 32 sent him to the pits, where the Player's crew determined that the damage to the car could not be repaired in time to get him back out on the track.
"After the contact, something got loose in the rear of the car and it started spraying oil," explained Moore. "That was the end of my race. You get super frustrated but you can't let down. You just have to make sure you do the best you can because our Player's crew is working so hard and really deserves a strong finish to the season."
Following a one-week break, the FedEx CART Championship drivers will be heading to Houston for Round 18 of the series, a September 26 event run on the city's 1.527-mile temporary street course. k