A bump in the road for Team Player's on the streets on Miami in Grand Prix Americas provisional qualifying Miami, Florida, September 26, 2003 The road to a Champ Car World Series' drivers' title isn't an easy one, and Team Player's driver Paul...
A bump in the road for Team Player's on the streets on Miami in Grand Prix Americas provisional qualifying
Miami, Florida, September 26, 2003 The road to a Champ Car World Series' drivers' title isn't an easy one, and Team Player's driver Paul Tracy, the current leader in the championship, hit some bumps in that road in the first Grand Prix Americas qualifying session on Friday. After a brush against the wall that shortened his morning practice run, Tracy was 14th in single-car provisional qualifying on the 1.314-mile Miami street circuit.
Tracy's teammate Patrick Carpentier, whose front and rear tire rubbed the wall on what had started out as his fastest qualifying lap, clocked the 11th fastest lap of the session, which was dominated by Brazilian Bruno Junqueira (45.024 seconds, 91.951 mph), Tracy's main rival for the championship. With the bonus point for the provisional pole, Junqueira assured himself of a front-row start for Sunday's 135-lap race and moved within 17 points of Tracy in the standings.
"We had a bad day," Tracy remarked. "The only consolation is that it came in provisional qualifying and we've got Saturday's final session to put things back in order."
Tracy's woes began on the eighth lap of the practice run when, in an attempted pass of Oriol Servia, his car got sideways and carried on into the barrier, forcing Tracy to return the car to the pits, where Team Players conducted repairs to the damaged front wing and suspension prior to the provisional qualifying. Tracy toured the narrow track in 47.401 seconds on his second of three allotted qualifying laps, but he aborted his third lap.
"There was some miscommunication and I thought my laps were done. I ended up pitting a lap early," explained Tracy. "I guess it just wasn't our day. The problems in the morning meant I had to go first in the qualifying session, and that's always a disadvantage. But Bruno went just after me and he was able to put in the fastest time, so I guess it doesn't really matter how early you go. Team Player's will do everything it can to snatch the pole from him tomorrow."
Carpentier, meanwhile, was on a pace to improve on his fastest lap of 46.765 seconds when the car touched the wall on his final qualifying lap, and, as Carpentier explained, "I lost about half a second trying to regain control of the car."
"It's disappointing because I was on a good lap. While it wasn't a good session for us, I know that we can get more speed out of the car. It's just a matter of getting it right. The car is pushing a bit too much right now, so we have to adjust the front end. This track is really tough. It's too tight for these cars. You're never able to go flat out because it seems that you're always turning."
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at 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 The Sports Network on tape delay at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.