CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Player's advance, Long Beach

Grand Prix Of Long Beach: Amid Festive Atmosphere, Team Player's Drivers Carpentier And Tagliani Focus On Reaching The Podium Long Beach, California, April 5, 2001 The FedEx CART Championship returns to action this weekend after a one-month...

Grand Prix Of Long Beach: Amid Festive Atmosphere, Team Player's Drivers Carpentier And Tagliani Focus On Reaching The Podium

Long Beach, California, April 5, 2001 The FedEx CART Championship returns to action this weekend after a one-month break, and Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani believe there is no better place to resume competition than in the streets of Long Beach.

Both drivers enjoy the challenge of racing on the demanding 1.968-mile circuit and being a part of an environment that is one of the most festive and enthusiastic in the series. Hundreds of thousands of fans turn out for the many activities that are staged during race week.

"I was disappointed that I couldn't compete at Long Beach last year because I broke a bone in my wrist the week before the race," said Carpentier. "This year, I'm ready to go and I can't wait to attack this street course that always produces an exciting race. With the one-month stretch between the race in Mexico and this one in Long Beach, I've found the time really long because I want to get back out there and race. I started focusing on Long Beach as soon as the race in Monterrey was over."

While Carpentier and Tagliani are devoting their full attention to Sunday's race, they were able to take time out today for some sea-kayaking in the waters off Newport Beach, an activity that the drivers found "invigorating and fun."

Carpentier, who reached the Long Beach podium (second) as an Atlantic driver, acknowledges that, "getting a good spot on the grid in qualifying is important, but we only have to look at last year's race, where the winner came from 17th on the grid, to realize that anything can happen on this track."

Tagliani has fond memories of the Long Beach street course. He won twice on this course while driving in the Atlantic series and, last year, his rookie season in CART, he crossed the finish line in fourth place to record his best finish of the year.

"It's no secret that I enjoy the Long Beach street course," said Tagliani. "I really can't put my finger on why I've been so successful there but I know I feel comfortable and confident every time I race at Long Beach. It's a great setting for a race. There's racing and other entertainment for the fans almost all week long, and the fans really get into it. I think the drivers feel a part of this electricity. "I see no reason why we can't continue to be successful in Long Beach," added Tagliani, who like his teammate appeared to be headed for a solid points-paying position in Monterrey when an electrical problem dashed such hopes. "We're coming off a first race that looked extremely promising for Team Player's until the electronic problem occurred. That was simply one of those unfortunate circumstances. You just have to forget about it and concentrate on doing well in the next race. That's what I intend to do."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Long Beach throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

-Team Player's

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani