CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Team Player's race report

Poised Carpentier produces podium finish for team player's in Australia Surfers Paradise, Australia, October 27, 2002  Patrick Carpentier of Team Player's earned his fourth podium of the season on Sunday, as he withstood a chain-reaction pileup...

Poised Carpentier produces podium finish for team player's in Australia

Surfers Paradise, Australia, October 27, 2002  Patrick Carpentier of Team Player's earned his fourth podium of the season on Sunday, as he withstood a chain-reaction pileup on the opening lap and extremely difficult track conditions on the rain-soaked streets of Surfers Paradise to finish second in the FedEx CART Championship's Honda Indy 300.

Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani, who was among the nine drivers involved in the opening lap incident that resulted in a re-start, also overcame adversity in strong fashion, taking sixth place after starting 14th on the grid. Mexico's Mario Dominguez got his first career CART victory, while Paul Tracy joined fellow Canadian Carpentier on the podium with a third-place finish. Dominguez became the 12th different winner in the 12 years of the event.  

The race was scheduled for 50 laps, but because of the torrential rain it had to be run under caution from the 10th lap until CART officials put an end to the race on lap 41. Dominguez and Carpentier were both helped by the fact they had pitted on lap 22 and 25 respectively and had satisfied the mandatory 20-lap window for pit stops. That strategy moved them up the field when several drivers ahead of them had to make their mandatory stop on lap 37.

"After I had pitted on lap 20, Team Player's decided to bring me back into the pits for a second stop on lap 25," said Carpentier, who had qualified 15th on the grid. "It turned out to be a good move. I was at the end of the line and somebody must have figured out that with the lap times, we would not go the distance. Anyway, it all paid off. After the kind of weekend we had been having, and then with the conditions out there today, I'm happy with the result and relieved that it's over."

Describing the harrowing multi-car, opening-lap incident that originated from contact between Jimmy Vasser and Adrian Fernandez, causing drivers behind them to brake on the slick street course, Carpentier said: "I couldn't see anything. I decided to move to the right side where I saw the wall, and I just stuck to it. I couldn't tell if if I was going towards the start-finish line or pit row."

Tagliani said he was accelerating in third gear when he saw Vasser sideways. "Then I felt my car lifting in the air. It was Michael (Andretti) making contact and going underneath my car. We were all blinded out there, and then all I saw were sparks all over the place. We were really lucky to escape serious injury."        Carpentier has 131 points in the drivers' standings, within four of third-place Dario Franchitti and 13 behind second-place Bruno Junqueira. Cristiano da Matta has already clinched the drivers' title. Tagliani, who earned points for the 12th time in his last 13 races, is seventh with 103 points.

Team Player's swings right back into action next weekend with the running of the 500-mile race on the superspeedway in Fontana.                                                                  -player's-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Mario Dominguez , Cristiano da Matta