CHAMPCAR/CART: Lausitz: Team Player's preview

Past history of success on superspeedways a good omen for Team Player's drivers heading into German 500 Lausitz, Germany, May 8, 2003 The first oval-track race of the Champ Car World Series season occurs on the 2.023-mile EuroSpeedway Lausitz...

Past history of success on superspeedways a good omen for Team Player's drivers heading into German 500

Lausitz, Germany, May 8, 2003 The first oval-track race of the Champ Car World Series season occurs on the 2.023-mile EuroSpeedway Lausitz this Sunday and that is welcome news for Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Paul Tracy.

Both of the Team Player's drivers have performed impressively on superspeedways during their Champ Car careers. Carpentier collected his first career victory in the series in 2001, when he won on the Michigan superspeedway, rallying dramatically from the 21st starting position to take the checkered flag. That same season, in the series' first-ever race on the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, Carpentier reached the podium with a third-place finish. Tracy, meanwhile, set the track record at the Michigan superspeedway in 2000, when he took the pole with a time of 30.645 seconds and a speed of 234.949 miles per hour.

"It's going to be fun; I've always enjoyed racing on superspeedways," said Carpentier. "I realize that you can't really draw comparisons between the Lausitz circuit and the one we used to race on in Michigan. But the same elements of flat-out, wheel-to-wheel racing and trying to take advantage of drafting are all there. Team Player's has a very fast car, so it will be interesting to see what we can do on the Lausitz track."

Tracy, the current leader in the drivers' standings with 65 points (an 11-point edge over Bruno Junqueira), said it is fitting that the first oval-course race of the season is on the Lausitz superspeedway because, in his opinion, it ranks among the best racing facilities in the world. "When I raced in the inaugural event two years ago, it was quite a thrill, especially with the grandstands filled with passionate racing fans," he recalled. "I was disappointed I wasn't able to do better than 10th. I'm looking for better things this time."

For the first time this season, Tracy does not have a winning streak going into a race he won the first three races of the season before a mechanical failure at Brands Hatch last Monday prevented him from finishing a race that he led or was in second place for the first 119 laps.

"I've already put that race out of my mind," remarked Tracy. "Even when you're winning races, you still have to focus on the next one, and right now our attention is on the German 500. It's going to be especially tough on the technical crew, switching from a road course to a superspeedway in a matter of a few days, but I'm sure that Team Player's is up to the task."

Because of the short amount of time between the two European races, the Champ Car teams must use the same aerodynamics configuration in Lausitz that was used on the Brands Hatch road course. The race weekend in Lausitz is over two, rather than the usual three days. There is no Friday practice session, however there is an extended practice on Saturday morning, followed by single-file qualifying in the afternoon.

The German 500 also marks a return to the track for Champ Car great Alex Zanardi, who was severely injured during the inaugural event two years ago. Zanardi is the Grand Marshall for the event and he will also be doing a ceremonial 13 laps in a modified Ford-Reynard to complete the run he was unable to finish in 2001.

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the German 500 throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch a tape delay of the race on the The Sports Network at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

-tp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy