CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Team Player's Saturday report

Team Player's driver Paul Tracy hoping that history repeats after earning no. 2 spot on Grand Prix of Long Beach starting grid. Long Beach, California, April 12, 2003 For the third time in as many races in the Champ Car World Series season,...

Team Player's driver Paul Tracy hoping that history repeats after earning no. 2 spot on Grand Prix of Long Beach starting grid.

Long Beach, California, April 12, 2003 For the third time in as many races in the Champ Car World Series season, Team Player's driver Paul Tracy has qualified on the outside front-row position a grid spot from which he won the first two races. Tracy, who took the Grand Prix of Long Beach provisional pole on Friday, before being edged out for the pole by Mexico's Michel Jourdain Jr. on Saturday, is seeking to becoming the first driver in 32 years to open the season in a major open wheel motorsports series with three straight wins.

The three Canadian drivers in the Champ Car World series have a place of prominence on Sunday's starting grid. Alex Tagliani qualified on the inside of Row 2, just behind fellow Canadian Tracy, and just ahead of Tracy's Team Player's mate, Patrick Carpentier, who is on the outside of Row 3 for the race on the 1.968-mile street circuit. It is Carpentier's best qualifying performance in six career appearances in Long Beach. Jourdain, meanwhile, earned his first career pole in his 123rd start in the Champ Car series.

Tracy, who had already locked up a front-row spot by virtue of his provisional pole, played the waiting game in the first half of Saturday's qualifying, until Jourdain clocked a fast lap in 1 minute, 8.177 seconds, and Tagliani had a hot lap that was only two-tenths slower. When Tracy went out on the track, however, he had to abort a flying lap when the left rear of the car brushed the wall in turn 5.

"It bent a control arm on the left rear suspension," explained Tracy, whose best time of the session was 1:08.729. "It took some time to fix, and when I went out again, there was a lot of traffic. I put in a fairly good fast lap but I couldn't improve my time. There was only two and a half minutes to go at that point, and there just wasn't enough time to get the tires to temperature. The good thing is that we only used one set of tires, so we'll have a set of sticker tires for each of our pits stops tomorrow."

Carpentier said that other than some "push" with the car that causes the rear section to snap when he turns too much in the corner, it has been a positive weekend. "I'm certainly not complaining, because sixth is better than we've ever done in qualifying at Long Beach," he remarked. "Sure, it would have been nice to get a bit closer to the front of the grid, but anything can happen on a street course. You just have to be patient."

Asked whether the problems with push were a cause for concern for the race, Carpentier replied: "It's not that bad. Team Player's will fix it up and make it more stable. Maybe we just made too many changes in the front of the car for qualifying, but it's nothing that we can't go back and rectify."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Long Beach throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race on tape delay on the The Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

-tp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Michel Jourdain