Toronto, Ontario, July 16, 2000 - Masterfully moving their way up the field, Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier delivered a strong performance in front of a home crowd at the Molson Indy Toronto today, finishing fifth and...
Toronto, Ontario, July 16, 2000 - Masterfully moving their way up the field, Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier delivered a strong performance in front of a home crowd at the Molson Indy Toronto today, finishing fifth and seventh respectively in the FedEx CART Championship's first Canadian stop of the season.
The stirring comeback by Tagliani and Carpentier, who respectively started 19th and 17th off the grid, was one of the highlights of an action-packed, spectacular day of racing through the 1.755-mile Toronto street course. American Michael Andretti emerged as the winner his sixth victory in Toronto and his 40th career win. Andretti became the second two-time winner in 10 CART races this season, finishing ahead of Mexico's Adrian Fernandez and Canada's Paul Tracy.
"All things considered, fifth place is a good result for us," said Tagliani, who was competing in his first career Molson Indy Toronto. "We had to come from quite a ways back on the grid, on a track that is tough to pass on, so it was a satisfying finish for Team Player's, which has had a driver end up in the top 5 in four of the last five races. Plus, we pick up some big points in the standings, and that's extremely important."
Tagliani used driver attrition ahead of him and some bold passing moves on five others to help him get back into contention. "You have to go for it when you have the chance because no one is going to give you any gifts out there," remarked Tagliani, who received the Hard-Charger Award for the biggest race comeback with his gain of 14 positions. With the 10 points he collected for the fifth-place finish, Tagliani, who has 36 points overall, was able to move into second place in the CART rookie standings, behind Sweden's Kenny Brack.
Carpentier, meanwhile, drove a gutsy race, drawing on his racing savvy to hold off hard-charging competitors and bringing it home in seventh after losing the front brakes at mid-race.
"There was no way we could adjust them, so I had to rely solely on the rear ones, and then they started to overheat whenever I was overworking them," explained Carpentier, who has finished seventh or better in five of the seven races in which he has competed this season. "When we consider the loss of the brakes and the looseness of the car at certain points in the race, seventh is a respectable result for Team Player's."
Carpentier has moved into sole possession of 10th place in the drivers' standings, where Roberto Moreno currently has a slender two-point lead over Michael Andretti. Carpentier has 53 points, only one fewer than Juan Montoya and within 13 of fifth-place Kenny Brack.
The Team Player's drivers return to action next Sunday when the CART series stops at the super-oval in Brooklyn, Michigan for the Michigan 500.
Meanwhile, in Atlantic series competition today, Team Player's driver Andrew Bordin of Woodbridge, Ont., who started from the pole, exchanged leads with American Buddy Rice before winning the 35-lap race. Bordin's first victory of the season enabled him to climb into second place in the drivers' standings, with 90 points. Bordin is within nine points of leader Rice.