Grand Prix Americas: Will Miami continue to be a hot spot for Team Player's? Miami, Florida, October 2, 2002 The return of the CART series to Miami is welcome news for Team Player's and its drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani. In six...
Grand Prix Americas: Will Miami continue to be a hot spot for Team Player's?
Miami, Florida, October 2, 2002 The return of the CART series to Miami is welcome news for Team Player's and its drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani. In six years of competing in races in Miami, Team Player's has collected points every time, including race wins by Greg Moore on the Homestead oval in 1999 and Jacques Villeneuve in 1995, the last time the race was run through the streets of Miami.
Carpentier and Tagliani both competed on the Homestead oval, an event that was discontinued following the 2000 season. But after a one-year absence, Miami is now back on the CART schedule with this weekend's running of the Grand Prix Americas, a 105-lap race on the tight and narrow 1.379-mile temporary street course.
"I always enjoyed going to Miami for the Homestead race and it's great to be back for this new event," said Carpentier. "It's another challenge and another opportunity to try to figure out ways to overcome the challenge. I've been told that racing on the Miami street course is a bit like racing on the streets of Monte Carlo in Monaco. I've seen how tough it is to pass on the streets of Monte Carlo, so if that's going to be the case here, it would be a good idea to do everything you can to qualify at or near the front of the grid."
Tagliani likens the Miami street circuit to the one in Denver, which the CART series visited last month, although he doesn't believe it will be as bumpy. Finding the right set-ups for Tagliani's car was a struggle throughout the weekend in Denver, but Tagliani doesn't expect it to be an issue on the Miami street course.
"We're all basically in the same position because it's a new venue and we're going to have to get a feel for the track," explained Tagliani. "Team Player's will have a completely different set-up and we'll work with that and continue to make adjustments where they are needed. The goal is to improve every time you're out on the track, so we'll be doing quite a bit of experimenting to try and get things just right."
While Brazil's Cristiano da Matta has a stranglehold on first place in the CART drivers' standings, there is still much at stake for both Carpentier and Tagliani. Carpentier currently sits fourth in the standings with 115 points, only 18 behind the second-place Bruno Junqueira. Tagliani is ninth with 83 points, but he is within 15 points of making it into the top 5, which he has set as a personal goal in the last four races of the season.
"Winning the drivers' standings may be out of the question at this stage of the season, but I'm still going all out to get into second and we'll see how things go after that," said Carpentier. "The Team Player's crew has worked so hard and with such dedication all season long, I would really like to see them rewarded for their efforts. We were able to get on the podium in England in the last race and now we have to maintain that momentum in Miami."
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix Americas 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 Sports Network starting at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.