CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Rocketsports Racing Saturday report

DENVER, Col. (August 14, 2004) -- Champ Car drivers, Alex Tagliani and Guy Smith today completed the final qualifying for the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver. Tagliani will sit in 11th position and Smith in 16th on the starting grid for...

DENVER, Col. (August 14, 2004) -- Champ Car drivers, Alex Tagliani and Guy Smith today completed the final qualifying for the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver. Tagliani will sit in 11th position and Smith in 16th on the starting grid for Round Nine of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford set in the streets of the mile high city.

Tagliani is looking to bank additional points to keep his top-five ranking in the Champ Car World Series and hopes for a strong finish in Sunday's race. "Typically the No. 8 Johnson Controls car does better on street courses and we're able to find the balance in the car that works," noted Tagliani. "This weekend has been a particular struggle. We have the speed, but need better grip on the track. We don't have the bite we need to get through the turns without losing too much time braking. The Rocketsports team always pulls through tough situations and remains competitive, and that's what we plan to do heading into the Denver race tomorrow."

Tagliani continues to work closely with engineer, Brian Ma, who joined Rocketsports this year. A reflection of the progress of the second-year Rocketsports Champ Car outfit, Tagliani has earned his first career win, successfully completed each race this season, and is currently third in the Champ Car World Series standings with 153 points. By comparison, in Round Nine of the 2003 Champ Car World Series, Tagliani ranked ninth in the series' standings.

Making his first Champ Car start on a street course, Guy Smith in the No.17 Rocketsports Lola will sit in 16th position on the starting grid for the Grand Prix of Denver. Smith, who joined the Champ Car World Series with Rocketsports Racing in Round Eight at Road America last weekend, has made a seamless transition into open-wheel cars from sportscar racing. The 2003 Le Mans winner for team Bentley employs his diverse driving skills and makes effective contributions to influence the engineering of the Ford-Cosworth Lola Bridgestone.

"We've made improvements to the handling of the car and we're going in the right direction, although we didn't capitalize on our track time to show what the No. 17 Rocketsports car is capable of," said Smith. "The key for us is to keep working together and sorting out what we need out of the car on this course. This being my first time in Denver, and my first street course in a Champ Car really, is an added challenge to the Denver experience."

Catch the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver on Spike TV at 4:00 PM (ET), Sunday August 15, 2004.

-rsr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Guy Smith , Alex Tagliani