CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Team Players preview

Grand Prix of Cleveland: Team Players ready to make its voice heard in the roar by the shore Cleveland, Ohio, July 2, 2003 In addition to it being the first night race on a road course in Champ Car World Series history, Saturday evening's Grand...

Grand Prix of Cleveland: Team Players ready to make its voice heard in the roar by the shore

Cleveland, Ohio, July 2, 2003 In addition to it being the first night race on a road course in Champ Car World Series history, Saturday evening's Grand Prix of Cleveland, dubbed The Roar By the Shore, has plenty of significance for Team Players drivers Patrick Carpentier and Paul Tracy.

Carpentier arrives in Cleveland as the defending champion, after withstanding the intense heat last year and the rigours of the 10-turn, 2.106-mile circuit that is like no other in the Champ Car series laps are run on the Burke Lakefront Airport runway, a configuration that is almost a combination of a road and street surface.

Tracy, who posted the fastest time (65.86 seconds) his teammate Carpentier was third quickest in a multi-team testing session earlier this week on the Mid-Ohio road course, where the series will be racing next month, will be making his 200th career Champ Car start when he lines up on the Cleveland grid Saturday evening. Tracy, currently the leading driver in the series, has a long history with Cleveland he won from the pole there in 1993 and has two other podium finishes, including third place last year, when he joined fellow Canadian Carpentier on the podium.

Two hundred career starts simply means I've been around a while, said Tracy. It's a milestone, I guess, but its only something you remember if you win the race. Winning the first night road-course race would make the 200th start all the more memorable.

Carpentier made it to the podium in the first-ever Champ Car night race, when he finished on the Milwaukee Mile oval on May 31. But he realizes that Cleveland poses a new set of variables he expects it will take some adjustments, for instance, to get used to going from twilight to nightfall, and to get accustomed to the shadows that form in the turns, despite the powerful lighting.

I got a lot of satisfaction from winning in Cleveland last year, because getting a victory there is a bit like winning the marathon,said Carpentier, who is currently fourth in the drivers' standings and has been in the top 8 in seven of the first eight races. You have to deal with changing surfaces and the heat that builds in the cockpit during the race, so you need a lot of stamina. The heat might not be as big a factor with this years race being at night. But I've been conserving my energy for the last few days because I know I'm going to need it.

Tracy, who is seeking his third straight podium, to go along with his three consecutive victories at the start of the season, knows from experience that one should expect the unexpected on a Cleveland course that features tight racing in the turns, especially turn 1, and flat-out, wheel-to-wheel battles on the runway sections.

We're in the stage of the season where the schedule is very hectic,remarked Tracy. It was great to get back into the lead in the championship with those back-to-back podium finishes. But as competitive as this series is, the least little setback will knock you off your perch. Were going to Cleveland with the attitude that this is the time to show were made of championship stuff.

Racing fans can follow Team Players progress at the Grand Prix of Cleveland throughout the three days and evenings by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race on tape delay on The Sports Network at 11:00 p.m. ET on Saturday evening.

SERVICES PROVIDED FOR THE GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND

Results of Team Player's drivers' performances in practice, qualifying and the race will be sent out daily. Photos of Team Players will be sent out on the CNW wire of Canadian Press, as well as to subscribers of our e-mail transmission service.

RADIO STATIONS:

Interview clips of the Team Player's drivers are available at the end of each day's activities. You can download professional quality audio in MP3 or WAV by logging on to them by logging on to the website: http://w3.teamplayers.ca/newsmedia/2003

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy