Detroit, Michigan, June 17, 2001 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier collected his first points of the FedEx CART Championship season on Sunday with an eighth-place performance at the Grand Prix of Detroit on a tough Belle Isle street circuit...
Detroit, Michigan, June 17, 2001 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier collected his first points of the FedEx CART Championship season on Sunday with an eighth-place performance at the Grand Prix of Detroit on a tough Belle Isle street circuit that saw 12 of the 25-car field fail to finish.
Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani was among the victims in the attrition-filled race, the seventh event of the season on the CART schedule. He race came to an end on lap 40 when a loss of his brakes sent the car into a tire barrier. Brazil's Helio Castroneves, the defending champion in Detroit, won the 72-lap race, holding off Scotland's Dario Franchitti and fellow Brazilian Roberto Moreno .
Carpentier held second place for 29 laps and pressed race leader Castroneves, after gaining two positions on a quick pit stop on lap 32. On lap 65, following the fourth restart of the day, Carpentier got boxed in as Franchitti passed on the inside and Moreno hemmed him in from the outside. Carpentier tried to fight off Moreno for the third place position but they touched wheels. While Carpentier managed to maintain control as his car got into the marbles, he slid down to seventh place. He fell to eighth on the final lap, a position that earned him five points in the drivers' standings.
"I had trouble on the restarts because I had no tire grip," explained Carpentier, who started sixth on the grid but boldly passed two drivers right off the start. "I was able to hold off Dario on the previous restart, but on the final one, I lost my momentum. I knew at that point I was in trouble. I tried to save my position, but as soon as Dario passed me, Roberto (Moreno) was next to me on the racing line and I was still spinning my wheels.
"On the last lap, I had to brake late when Paul (Tracy) suddenly stopped on the track and I was passed by a couple of cars. There was just one yellow too many. We had a good car all weekend and I feel bad for Team Player's but it motivates us even more for Portland next weekend."
Tagliani was running 17th and making continual progress from his 20th starting position on the grid when his brake problem occurred. "It happened so fast," he related. "Coming into turn 12, I touched the brake pedal and it went straight to the floor. There was nothing I could do but downshift one gear. I went full speed into the tire wall. It's unfortunate for Team Player's because the car was fast. We were as fast as the leaders and running well until the problem came up."
The victory by Castroneves enabled him to close the gap in the drivers' standings. He trails leader Kenny Brack by five points, while Michael Andretti moved into third place with 48 points.
Team Player's returns to action next Sunday at the Portland International Speedway in Oregon for the second road-course event in as many weeks.