Corby, England, September 20, 2001 Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani were able to run only a handful of laps Thursday on the 1.5-mile Rockingham Speedway oval as bad weather disrupted the two scheduled practice sessions...
Corby, England, September 20, 2001 Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani were able to run only a handful of laps Thursday on the 1.5-mile Rockingham Speedway oval as bad weather disrupted the two scheduled practice sessions in preparation for the CART series' Rockingham 500 on Saturday.
Much of the day was spent trying to get the rain-soaked track suitable to run practice laps. But the CART series drivers, who are making their first appearance in England since 1978, managed to run only five laps under yellow behind the pace car before heading back into the pits. They tried again five minutes later but that session was also reduced to five laps under the caution flag. With track conditions showing no improvement and evening darkness fast approaching, CART officials called it a day.
The drivers are now scheduled to have a first practice session on Friday morning, followed by a two-hour session in the afternoon. The qualifying session has been cancelled and the race grid will be set based on the results of the Friday afternoon practice session.
"I'm a little disappointed we couldn't run a longer session today," said Tagliani. "This isn't my type of track because you're turning all the time. I'm sure it's going to be tough to pass, but we'll just have to wait until Friday and Saturday to find out. Although we ran very few laps today, I was still glad to be inside the cockpit. I was able to take my mind off things. When I'm driving, I'm focused, so in that sense, it was good for me."
Carpentier's assessment of the track, in the limited laps he ran, was similar to that of his teammate. "It's a nice track, but I think it's going to be difficult to pass because we're always turning. There are two corners that are almost 90 degrees, with a short chute following the second corner. We're going to be able to run side by side during the race, but I'm not sure if we're going to be able to get some distance over another driver before we get to the corners."
Racing fans can follow the progress of Team Player's throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network starting at 7:30 a.m. (ET) Saturday.