CHAMPCAR/CART: Lexington: Team Player's preview

Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier hopes 100 is magic number at Mid-Ohio. Lexington, Ohio, August 8, 2002 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier will be competing on one of his favourite race tracks this weekend as he marks the 100th race...

Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier hopes 100 is magic number at Mid-Ohio.

Lexington, Ohio, August 8, 2002 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier will be competing on one of his favourite race tracks this weekend as he marks the 100th race of his CART series career on the technically challenging, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio road course, the site of Round 11 in the championship.

"I can't think of a better race track for my 100th career event in the CART series because I've always enjoyed racing at Mid-Ohio," declared Carpentier. "Mid-Ohio is a road course that gives you a little bit of everything, and the fans who come to watch are so passionate about the sport."

Carpentier gave the fans plenty to cheer about in Mid-Ohio last season when he reached the podium there for the first time in four appearances on the hilly, twisty layout. His third-place finish was a considerable improvement over his first career race in Mid-Ohio, a 15th-place effort that Carpentier has not forgotten.

"I remember how hot it was on the track the first time I raced there," recalled Carpentier. "I also remember getting very dehydrated. I've learned over the years not to let that happen again. One of the reasons it was so great to get on the podium in Mid-Ohio last year was because it's an indication that we've come a long ways since our first race here."

Carpentier can say the same thing about the progress that's been made during the first 100 races of his CART career. His current stretch of consistency, which includes a race victory in Cleveland on July 14, has enabled Carpentier to climb within 12 points of second place in the drivers' standings. The steady performance has also staked Carpentier as one of the drivers with an outside chance of catching Brazil's Cristiano da Matta, who has a commanding lead in the standings.

Asked to assess the first 100 races of his career, Carpentier commented: "We've had some highs and lows, but overall we've developed as a team and made considerable progress. There is still a lot of racing left in the current season and if Team Player's can get on a roll, the way it did in the second half of last season, who knows how far we can go."

Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani, who is out to extend his points-paying streak to seven races, regards the Mid-Ohio race as the start of the second half of the season, and his goal is to boost his points' output and work his way into the tightly bunched group that is trying to cut into da Matta's lead.

"From race to race, Team Player's still has one of the fastest cars out there, and that's been a factor in being able to collect paying points," remarked Tagliani. "It hurts to have left some podium opportunities slip away but it's a matter of continuing to work hard and with a bit of luck here and there I'm sure we'll have races where everything comes together. This series is so competitive that the least little mistake can cost you."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network starting at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

-player's-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani