Fort Worth, Texas, April 26, 2001 On a weekend that features a number of firsts for the FedEx CART Championship, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani have another first in mind, and that is being the first to cross the finish...
Fort Worth, Texas, April 26, 2001 On a weekend that features a number of firsts for the FedEx CART Championship, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani have another first in mind, and that is being the first to cross the finish line at the inaugural Texas 600.
In addition to being the CART series' first-ever race on the 1.5-mileTexas Motor Speedway, Sunday's event is the first oval-track race of the season, following two outings on road courses. It is also the first time this season that drivers will be wearing the HANS (Head and Neck Support) device, which is mandatory in 2001 for CART races on ovals.
"I've been looking forward to the race in Texas from the moment I learned it was on this year's schedule," said Carpentier, whose injured left wrist has sufficiently healed over the past two weeks to allow him to return to action without missing a race. "With the steep banking and the 1.5-mile oval, it should be an incredible show for the fans as the cars race side by side traveling in excess of 230 miles an hour."
Carpentier, who credited his sessions in the hyperbaric chamber for helping to speed up the healing process, said he doesn't expect the Texas race to cause any problems for his wrist. "The fact that it's an oval track means that it will be easier on my wrist because there as not as many demands on the wrists as there would on a road course, where you're constantly having to make hard turns. I'm glad that I didn't have to miss a race because Team Player's has a very competitive car and I believe that we will do well in Texas."
Carpentier and Tagliani got into the mood for this weekend's race by attending the Toronto premiere of "Driven", the new Sylvester Stallone-directed movie that was filmed at several CART events. Meanwhile, Team Player's engineering crew prepared for the inaugural Texas 600 by conducting a series of tests in the wind tunnel last month.
"I really enjoy the challenge of racing on a new track," remarked Tagliani. "As a CART rookie last year, quite a few of the tracks were new to me tracks such as Motegi in Japan, the super ovals in Michigan and Fontana were a first look for me. As I look back on those three races, I was in contention for a spot on the podium in all three of them. That gives me a lot of confidence for Texas, where we'll have to handle another new situation."
Besides having to quickly adjust to a new track, Tagliani said the notorious Texas heat might be another factor on race day. "The heat can have an impact on everything from tires to driver stamina," he explained. "All the physical training I do should pay off if we're racing in extremely warm conditions."
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Texas 600 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 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.