CHAMPCAR/CART: Gateway Team Player's preview

Madison, Illinois, September 14, 2000 After four straight road- and street-course events, the FedEx CART Championship returns to the ovals this Sunday with the running of the Motorola 300 on the 1.270-mile Gateway International Raceway course in...

Madison, Illinois, September 14, 2000 After four straight road- and street-course events, the FedEx CART Championship returns to the ovals this Sunday with the running of the Motorola 300 on the 1.270-mile Gateway International Raceway course in this St. Louis suburb.

Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani have been extremely competitive in most of the races on ovals thus far. Carpentier has finished in the top 5, including third place in Milwaukee, in three of five oval events in which he has competed. Tagliani, meanwhile, has led a good portion of three races on ovals - Homestead (Miami), Rio and Michigan.

"Team Player's performance on ovals is very encouraging as we head into the race at Gateway," said Carpentier, whose first career podium in CART came in Madison in 1997. "From a pure speed standpoint, we have been right up there with the leaders, more often than not. When you're that close, you have to think that if you keep battling hard and get a lucky break here and there during the race, you can pull off a victory."

In seven oval events thus far there have been six different winners, with Colombia's Juan Montoya the only two-time winner. Two drivers Max Papis and Cristiano da Matta recorded their first career CART victory on ovals this season.

"Races on a fast oval like the one at Gateway, where there are some great opportunities to pass, usually produce plenty of excitement, with quite a few lead changes," remarked Carpentier. "The key is to develop and execute a good strategy and have flawless pit stops, because that is quite often the difference between winning and falling just short. Team Player's has been strong in previous races on ovals, and I'm confident that will continue to be the case this time."

Tagliani will be racing on the Gateway oval for the first time as a CART driver. The last two years, he competed in an Atlantic series event and made the podium last year with a third-place finish. If he can duplicate that performance this year, he would garner the first podium of his CART career.

"We've been in a good position, at Homestead, Rio and Michigan, to get our first CART podium," said Tagliani. "Each time, I made a rookie mistake that ended our chances of getting on the podium. I think I've learned a lot from those three races and you can be sure I'm going to do everything I can to get into that position (the lead) again."

In the CART Toyota Atlantic series, Team Player's driver Andrew Bordin, of Woodbridge, Ontario, is seeking to recapture third place in the drivers' standings with a strong performance in the 50-lap race on Saturday afternoon. Bordin currently has 103 points, 12 fewer than Argentina's Martin Basso.

Racing fans can track the progress of Team Player's this weekend by logging on to the web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the Motorola 300 live on The Sports Network at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Martin Basso , Andrew Bordin , Cristiano da Matta