GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND: TEAM PLAYER'S DRIVERS PREPARE FOR A FAST, FURIOUS AND UNUSUAL RACE ON THE AIRPORT RUNWAY ROAD COURSE Cleveland, Ohio, July 11, 2002 - Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani have come to realize that...
GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND: TEAM PLAYER'S DRIVERS PREPARE FOR A FAST, FURIOUS AND UNUSUAL RACE ON THE AIRPORT RUNWAY ROAD COURSE
Cleveland, Ohio, July 11, 2002 - Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani have come to realize that they have to be prepared for anything at the Grand Prix of Cleveland, where the FedEx CART Championship presents Round 9 of the series this Sunday.
The diversity of the CART series is such that drivers run on various track configurations, and Cleveland is one with a difference a temporary road circuit that is set up on the runway at the Burke Lakefront Airport. The wide expanse of the runway lends itself to much more passing than a typical road course, but there are tricky areas on the circuit that have affected the race outcome. The sultry mid-summer temperatures that lead to rain and even thunderstorms have also frequently had an impact on the results
"It's a lot of fun racing on the airport runway, but it can be frustrating sometimes, especially on that first turn at the start of the race," said Carpentier. "It's a turn that is wide when you first go into it, then it narrows quite a bit at the exit. When you have too many cars going into that turn at the same time, it can be chaotic as I discovered last year when my car was hit and our race was over on the first lap."
In five career CART races on the 2.106-mile Cleveland road course, Carpentier's top finish is the fifth place he recorded two years ago. As he heads into Cleveland on the heels of a Toronto race in which traction-control problems relegated him to a 10th-place finish, Carpentier has his sights set on making up for some lost ground in recent weeks.
"Team Player's is at the stage of the season where we really need to get on a roll and put together a string of strong finishes," declared Carpentier. "Maybe the race in Cleveland will get us headed in the right direction. I want to win as badly as anyone and I get as upset as anyone when, for one reason or another, it just isn't happening. It certainly isn't from a lack of trying because everyone on the team is working extremely hard to get things turned around."
Tagliani, who has collected points in each of his last four races, will be making his third Grand Prix of Cleveland start. While Tagliani acknowledges that the wide straights and spacious run-off areas at Burke Lakefront allow a driver to take a bolder approach than on a conventional road course, the tough turns especially turn 1 are often the great equalizer because, as Tagliani notes, "once you get into the turn, you realize there's only one race line, and you can find yourself in the grass very quickly."
Historically, winners of the Grand Prix of Cleveland have usually come from the first three rows of the starting grid, underscoring the importance of strong qualifying sessions. "We've had some good results in qualifying on road courses this season (3rd in Monterrey, 7th at Laguna Seca, 4th in Portland), and I'm confident we can get one of those top spots in Cleveland," remarked Tagliani.
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at Molson Indy Toronto throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch live on the The Sports Network starting at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.