Long Beach, California, April 13, 2000 Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani is hoping that his first race through the streets of Long Beach as a CART driver this Sunday will be as successful as his past performances while competing in the...
Long Beach, California, April 13, 2000 Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani is hoping that his first race through the streets of Long Beach as a CART driver this Sunday will be as successful as his past performances while competing in the Atlantic series.
In four Atlantic appearances at Long Beach, Tagliani was in the top 10 on each occasion and won the event in 1997 and 1999.
"I like the configuration in Long Beach very much," remarked Tagliani, as he prepared for the second race of his CART career, following last weekend's snow-out in Nazareth and a ninth-place finish in his debut at Homestead last month. "Long Beach and Toronto are my favourite street courses. The success that I've had in Long Beach is good for my confidence heading into this week's race. I can't wait to see what the track is like for the cars in the CART series."
Tagliani's teammate and fellow Canadian driver Patrick Carpentier will not be among the competitors at Long Beach he is sidelined by a broken wrist that will keep him out of action for at least the next two races. While Carpentier is mending, Memo Gidley, who has 10 career CART races to his credit, will be driving for Team Player's.
"I really feel bad about Patrick getting hurt," said Tagliani. "We've developed a very good working relationship since we began testing sessions last winter and I think the results we had in the opening race at Homestead showed that we were making fine progress. As a team, we're just going to have to bear down even more and battle our way through this adversity."
Like Tagliani, Gidley, who was born in Mexico but is a long-time California resident, has fond memories of the street course in Long Beach he too won a race there in the Atlantic series, in 1998.
"It's really a special feeling to be returning to action right here at home on a course where I've had success in the past," said Gidley. "I'm honoured to be driving for Team Player's and I intend to do everything I can to justify the confidence the team's management has placed in me. I've been well received by the Player's crew and I'm looking forward to getting out on the track and showing what I can do."
Racing fans can watch the 82-lap Grand Prix of Long Beach live on The Sports Network at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.