CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Player's Houston preview

Houston, Texas, October 4, 2001 The last time Team Player^Ã’s raced on a street circuit drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier rode a roller-coaster of emotions that ranged from euphoria in Saturday^Ã’s Molson Indy Vancouver qualifying ...

Houston, Texas, October 4, 2001 The last time Team Player^Òs raced on a street circuit drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier rode a roller-coaster of emotions that ranged from euphoria in Saturday^Òs Molson Indy Vancouver qualifying session, when they finished 1-2 respectively, to disappointment on Sunday race day, when some bad luck put the duo out of contention.

As Team Player^Òs heads into Houston for the FedEx CART Championship^Òs first street course race since the Vancouver event early last month, both of the drivers claim the pleasant memories of their experience on the streets of Vancouver outweigh the bad.

^ÓEven though I came away with only two points instead of 22 in Vancouver, I have nothing but positive memories of my last race on a street circuit,^Ô said Tagliani, who not only won the pole but led the most race laps before his gearbox gave out on lap 69. ^ÓI still believe that Team Player^Òs is the one to beat on this type of track, and I intend to prove that again this weekend.^Ô

Tagliani, who has spent the last several days at his home in Las Vegas getting recharged from grueling back-to-back race weekends in Europe, still has his sights set on making it into the top 10 in the drivers^Ò standings. He is currently in 15th place with 51 points, within 25 points of 10th spot with four races to go on the 2001 schedule.

^ÓI know that there^Òs a very slim margin of error, but I^Òm confident we can attain not only this objective but the other objective of winning one of these last four races,^Ô added Tagliani. ^ÓI^Òd like to get on a roll like Patrick did earlier and finish with a streak of podiums so that Team Player^Òs can have two drivers in the top 10 of the championship for the first time in its history.^Ô

Carpentier, who is currently in eighth place with 83 points, only nine points from the fifth spot, shares his teammate^Òs optimism about the rest of the races on the schedule, which is now a final sprint to the finish.

^ÓI stopped making predictions a long time ago, but I believe the quality of our set-ups for the tracks we^Òll be racing on (Houston, Laguna Seca, Surfers Paradise and Fontana) will be a big factor in the team having a legitimate shot at winning,^Ô remarked Carpentier. ^ÓBut to get that win, things are going to have to hold up mechanically and rival drivers are going to have to show some sense of fair play and let us stay on the track,^Ô added Carpentier, who was headed for a podium position in Vancouver when he was the victim of contact by the championship leader, Kenny Bräck of Sweden.

After 16 rounds of the championship, Bräck holds a six-point lead (147-141) over Brazilian Gil de Ferran in the overall standings. American Michael Andretti is third with 125 points.

Racing fans can follow the progress of Team Player^Òs throughout the weekend by logging on to the team^Òs web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the 100-lap race live on The Sports Network starting at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Kenny Brack