Houston, Texas, October 1, 2000 Patrick Carpentier was forced to retire about midway through today's 100-lap Grand Prix of Houston and his teammate Alex Tagliani met the same fate with 21 laps to go as Round 18 of the FedEx CART Championship...
Houston, Texas, October 1, 2000 Patrick Carpentier was forced to retire about midway through today's 100-lap Grand Prix of Houston and his teammate Alex Tagliani met the same fate with 21 laps to go as Round 18 of the FedEx CART Championship proved frustrating for Team Player's.
Tagliani, who started from the eighth spot on the grid, held that position for much of the race and seemed headed for a top-10 finish until contact with Michael Andretti prematurely ended his race day. Carpentier experienced electronic problems from the start and his woes were compounded on the opening lap when there was contact from behind.
American Jimmy Vasser took the checkered flag, earning his first win in two seasons. His teammate, Juan Montoya of Colombia, was second, 1.914 seconds behind, while Brazilian Gil de Ferran finished third. De Ferran's third-place finish enabled him to extend his lead in the drivers' standings. De Ferran has 153 points, 19 more than Paul Tracy and 22 ahead of Roberto Moreno, with two races left on the schedule.
Tagliani was battling for position with Andretti after the re-start on lap 78. The Team Player's driver was in the marbles, on the outside of Andretti as the latter came out of corner six.
"When Michael came out, he spun his wheels and I just tried to put pressure on him on the next corner," explained Tagliani. "Unfortunately, I went over the bump while I was braking and slightly touched his rear wheel with the nose of the car. I was braking as hard as I could, praying for Michael to emerge from the corner as quickly as he could, but it didn't happen. I certainly never wanted to get involved in an incident with him because I know he's in the thick of the championship race. I'm sorry it happened."
Carpentier's early electronic problems caused the engine to cut out at times and reduce power in the car. "My engine had just cut out on that first lap when (Mark) hit me from the rear. It wasn't his fault because he had nowhere to go. I punctured a tire and had to pit early. Then, later on, a bolt came loose on the front wing and I had to pit for a third time. That's when we decided to call it a day because the engine problem wasn't going to go away.
"It's disappointing, but we gave it everything we had. We've had very few times this season that we haven't been there at the finish on race day. This happened to be one of those days."
Earlier in the day, Team Player's driver Andrew Bordin of Woodbridge, Ontario, ended the CART Toyota Atlantic season in strong fashion by winning from the pole to capture his second victory of the season. Bordin led all 43 laps to finish ahead of fellow Canadian David Rutledge, with whom he had shared the front row of the grid. American Buddy Rice, who had already clinched the drivers' championship, was third.
The CART drivers now head to Australia for the next-to-last event in the 20-race series. The race takes place on the 2.795-mile Surfer's Paradise street course in Queensland on October 15.