CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Team Player's preview

Tagliani aims for team record and Carpentier seeks to regain 2nd place in standings as Team Player'S hits the streets of "Mile-High" city. Denver, Colorado, August 29, 2002 Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani was one of the first CART drivers to...

Tagliani aims for team record and Carpentier seeks to regain 2nd place in standings as Team Player'S hits the streets of "Mile-High" city.

Denver, Colorado, August 29, 2002 Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani was one of the first CART drivers to arrive in the Mile High city early this week in preparation for the inaugural Grand Prix of Denver that will be run Sunday on the 1.65-mile course through the streets around the Pepsi Centre.

"From the people I've talked with, and just from hearing about past experiences of athletes competing in Denver, I understand it sometimes takes a while to get adjusted to the thinner air," explained Tagliani. "I know that during a race it can get very hot in the cockpit, and racing at a venue where there is a higher altitude might have an additional impact. I didn't want to leave anything to chance, so I decided to get here early to try to get adapted to the conditions."

Tagliani, who along with his teammate Patrick Carpentier is coming off a hectic race week competing in front of a hometown crowd in the first-ever Molson Indy Montreal, enters the inaugural Grand Prix of Denver with an opportunity to tie a Team Player's record. Tagliani has compiled points in nine consecutive CART races, one shy of the record set by the late Greg Moore, who collected points in the final three races of 1998 and the first seven events in 1999.

Tagliani said that the reliability of the Team Player's Champ car has helped in mounting the nine-race streak. But Tagliani added: "Being in the points is one thing and winning races is another. I know that all of us at Team Player's want to get to that next level, and maybe it will happen in the 'Mile High' city."

Carpentier, who like his teammate is meticulous about physical conditioning, believes that his rigorous off-season training program and his off-track activities such as mountain biking will help him to maintain his stamina under the high-altitude conditions. "We've already been through some physically demanding races in Cleveland, Mid-Ohio and Road America in the last few weeks, so at this stage of the season we should be ready for anything," he remarked.

Sunday's race will be the fourth in as many weeks for the CART drivers, a gruelling stretch that can sometimes be as exacting mentally as it is physically. Plus, the Team Player's drivers are coming off an emotionally draining race week in Montreal.

"I don't expect to have a letdown after Montreal," stated Carpentier, who had two wins and had collected 60 points in the four races prior to last weekend. "It was definitely a major disappointment not being able to finish the race last Sunday, especially with it being the first time we've raced in our hometown in the CART series. But I'm usually able to block the last race out of my mind and focus all my attention on the next one. And we're going to have to find a way to score some big points because there are only six races left and now it's crunch time."

While the third-place Carpentier is within five points of Dario Franchitti, currently the runner-up in the drivers' standings, he trails points' leader Cristiano da Matta by 60 points (161-101).

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Denver throughout the weekend 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 starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

-player's-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Greg Moore , Cristiano da Matta