CHAMPCAR/CART: Michigan Saturday Player's Racing notes

Brooklyn, Michigan, July 22, 2000 -- Team Player's arrived in Michigan intent on qualifying near the front of the grid for Sunday's Michigan 500 on the super oval, and Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier achieved that goal today by recording the...

Brooklyn, Michigan, July 22, 2000 -- Team Player's arrived in Michigan intent on qualifying near the front of the grid for Sunday's Michigan 500 on the super oval, and Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier achieved that goal today by recording the 8th- and 9th-fastest laps respectively.

Canada's Paul Tracy took the pole with a time of 30.645 seconds (234.949 miles per hour), while Michael Andretti of the United States (30.687) and Brazil's Christian Fittipaldi (30.739) earned the second and third positions.

"My Player's Reynard has the power to be up there with the leaders and is a very well-balanced car for the race," said Tagliani, the top rookie qualifier for the first of two super-speedway events on this year's FedEx CART schedule. He clocked a fast lap in 30.990 seconds (232.333 miles per hour). "The key for a 500-mile race is to be consistent and stay with the leaders in the first 200 laps. Then you go all out in the last 50."

Carpentier, who earned his fourth top-10 qualifying position in seven races, was equally pleased by his results in today's session. He sped around the 2-mile super oval in 31.036 (231.989 mph).

"The car had no push and it wasn't loose at all," he remarked. "My second lap was a bit slower because the tire pressure went up too quickly. But looking to tomorrow's race, the main thing is that Team Player's has a very stable car in traffic, and longevity is the key on this track. You have to keep up with the leaders at the start and stay out of trouble."

Carpentier has maintained or improved his position on the starting grid in all but one of the races in which he has competed this season.

Tagliani will be getting his first taste of racing on a super-oval and the rookie CART driver is eagerly awaiting the opportunity.

"The track is real fast," he admitted. "But Team Player's gives us a very stable car, so it's not really a problem to handle that kind of power. From what I've seen so far, you need to be focused because there are more pit stops than we usually have. You also have to cope with the big difference between the speed you're going on the track and the speed when you come into the pits."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy