Molson Indy Vancouver: Team Player's Riding High As It Tries To Go 2-For-2 In Podium Finishes At Canadian Races On The 2001 Cart Circuit Vancouver, British Columbia, August 29, 2001 After rafting on the waters of the Squamish River, north of ...
Molson Indy Vancouver: Team Player's Riding High As It Tries To Go 2-For-2 In Podium Finishes At Canadian Races On The 2001 Cart Circuit
Vancouver, British Columbia, August 29, 2001 After rafting on the waters of the Squamish River, north of Vancouver, earlier this week, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani head into Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver riding the wave of a successful points streak that has seen them emerge as a major factor in the FedEx CART Championship.
Carpentier has collected 54 points in his last four races to climb into eighth place in the battle for the drivers' title. Tagliani has earned points in seven consecutive races, a stretch in which he has compiled 48 points to shoot from the bottom of the standings to 14th place, five points from moving into the top 10.
Both drivers are intent on continuing their charge up the standings as the CART series moves to the 1.781-mile temporary street course of False Creek at Concord Pacific Place. It is the second and final Canadian stop on the CART schedule and it comes just over six weeks after Molson Indy Toronto, where Team Player's fortunes in the 2001 season started to turn around. Tagliani garnered his first CART podium in Toronto and Carpentier had powered his way into the top 5 before skidding off the track just past the midway part of the race.
"Hopefully, we can keep our momentum of the last few races going in Vancouver," said Carpentier. "The Toronto and Vancouver street circuits are quite similar, so we can use some of the set-ups that worked well in Toronto and work from that to prepare a competitive car in Vancouver. Another positive factor is being in the fast qualifying group because it really helps if you can be near the front of the grid on race day. Passing on the Vancouver street circuit is tough, but it's not impossible."
Carpentier has had highs and lows in Vancouver. In 1999, he became the first Canadian driver to reach the podium at the Molson Indy Vancouver, adeptly handling the wet conditions for a second-place finish. His podium chances ended early in last year's race following contact on lap 4.
"Believe me, it was a lot more fun being on the podium than being back in the paddock watching from the sidelines," remarked Carpentier. "Vancouver is special, not only because it's one of only two races in Canada in the series, but also because the fans are so supportive of Team Player's. They want to see us do well and we try as hard as we can to give them plenty to cheer about."
Tagliani not only wants to maintain his points' streak, he has his sights set on going 2-for-2 in Canada this season. "Finishing second in Toronto last month for my first career podium in the CART series was definitely a big thrill and it would be fantastic if Vancouver is the place where I can get my first CART win," he said. "As a driver, you really get caught up in the festive atmosphere that surrounds race week in Vancouver. There's been a Canadian on the Vancouver podium the last two years, with Patrick (Carpentier) and Paul Tracy. I'd like to be the one to keep that streak going."
Tagliani credits the meticulous work of the Team Player's crew for helping him to collect top-paying points over such a long stretch of races. "Every race weekend, from the moment the car comes off the transporter, they've worked hard to improve its performance, and the car has gotten better as the weekend goes along," he explained. "If we can keep battling and staying in the hunt in every race, one of these times we're going to be in a position to pull off a race victory."
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 Global Network starting at 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.