Short day at Long Beach for luckless Team Player's drivers Tagliani and Carpentier. Long Beach, California, April 14, 2002 The second race of the Fed Ex CART championship was marred by misfortune for Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier as ...
Short day at Long Beach for luckless Team Player's drivers Tagliani and Carpentier.
Long Beach, California, April 14, 2002 The second race of the Fed Ex CART championship was marred by misfortune for Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier as neither Team Player's driver was able to finish the 90-lap event on the streets of Long Beach that was won by veteran Michael Andretti of the United States.
Tagliani, who was running eighth at about the one-third mark of the race, found himself a lap down after contact with Oriol Servia and Townsend Bell on lap 38. Although Tagliani managed to remain in the hunt for a points-paying position that possibility vanished on lap 59 when, shortly after going green, Tagliani and Townsend Bell banged cars in corner 2, ending the race for both.
Carpentier, a victim of bad luck throughout the weekend, had a malfunction of the traction control device on the pace lap. While he was able to rejoin the field and make up his one-lap deficit, he eventually had his race end on lap 21 when his gearbox gave out.
The victory by Andretti was the 42nd of his career, tops in the CART series. Andretti has won at least one CART race in 15 straight seasons. He came out of the pits at about mid-race ahead of fellow American Jimmy Vasser and held him off the rest of the war to earn the victory, after starting 15th on the grid. Italy's Max Papis, who started 18th, was third on the podium.
"I didn't have the most competitive car today but I'm sure I could have finished in the points," said Tagliani. "Because I was a lap down on the re-start (lap 59), I let seven cars go by in one corner, and while I was doing that, I ended up getting hit. That really upsets me. Townsend Bell should have been more patient. His actions caused both of us to retire from the race. It's terribly disappointing for Team Player's because we had a good shot at picking up some points."
Carpentier's problems began as he was warming up the tires for the start of the race, only to have the traction-control system momentarily malfunction, causing the car to go into a spin and lightly brush the wall. The traction-control system was re-set as work crews placed Carpentier's car in an exit area. He returned to the track just as the rest of the field had completed the opening lap.
"It's tough to have that type of adversity at the start, but we kept plugging away until the problems with the gearbox came up," remarked Carpentier. "I lost second and third gear, but at that stage the team told me to get as much out of the car as I could. We finally lost it for good going into turn 1 on lap 21. Long Beach hasn't been that kind to me in past races and things weren't much better today. We'll just have to put this one out of our minds and get ready for the first oval race in two weeks."
The first oval event of the 2002 CART season is on the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi in Japan on April 27.