Row 4 marks the spot for Team Player's as drivers Tagliani and Carpentier start side by side at Fontana 500. Fontana, California, November 2, 2002 Team Player's will form the fourth row of the starting grid for Sunday's Fontana 500 CART race on...
Row 4 marks the spot for Team Player's as drivers Tagliani and Carpentier start side by side at Fontana 500.
Fontana, California, November 2, 2002 Team Player's will form the fourth row of the starting grid for Sunday's Fontana 500 CART race on the 2-mile superspeedway after Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier turned in the seventh and eighth fastest lap respectively in qualifying on Saturday.
Brazilians Tony Kanaan and Bruno Junqueira earned the front-row positions, with Kanaan taking the pole in a quick lap of 31.483 seconds (232.011 miles per hour/373.385 km/h), just over a tenth of a second better than his fellow countryman. In the five-year history of the Fontana 500, however, no pole sitter has won the race. Tagliani was the latest to experience that fate he won the pole last season and finished up third in the race.
"We have a very competitive car for the race," Tagliani said after today's qualifying run, in which he clocked his best lap 31.737 seconds (230.154 mph/370.396 km/h) - on the second of his two allotted qualifying laps.
"Team Player's did simulations under all kinds of conditions and everything went well, so I'm confident with it. Winning the pole wasn't so much of an objective as working on race set-ups, so we can't complain about the position on the grid. It's a long race, and you just need to be there in the last 50 laps, so that you can make a move."
Carpentier, who garnered his first career victory in the CART series on a similar-type superspeedway in Michigan last season, won that race despite qualifying 21st on the starting grid.
"It really doesn't matter if you don't get the pole on a superspeedway like Fontana because if you have the engine you're going to be in the thick of the race after two laps anyway," remarked Carpentier. "The Ford Cosworth-Reynard package has performed well on superspeedways, and I'm sure it will be competitive here."
The fastest of Carpentier's two laps was on his second tour of the superspeedway, when he registered a time of 31.740 seconds (230132 mph/370.361 km/h). He was .26 seconds off that pace on his second attempt.
"We thought we would be quicker but it's hard to judge how much downforce to put into the car," said Carpentier. "We removed some of the downforce but there was still some left. It's always a bit of a gamble because there are other factors, like the wind and sun, that can enter into it. We did the best we could, but we didn't really have enough today for the pole."
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at The 500 throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race in progress on The Sports Network at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.