Player's drivers Carpentier and Tracy are familiar figures on Mid-Ohio podium Lexington, Ohio, August 7, 2003 One Team Player's driver will be trying to win his second straight race on the Mid-Ohio road course, while the other will be seeking...
Player's drivers Carpentier and Tracy are familiar figures on Mid-Ohio podium
Lexington, Ohio, August 7, 2003 One Team Player's driver will be trying to win his second straight race on the Mid-Ohio road course, while the other will be seeking his elusive first win there as the Champ Car World Series' teams tackle the demanding 2.258-mile circuit at Sunday's running of the 92-lap Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio.
For Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier, it is a return to the scene of glory, a venue where he collected the maximum 23 points last year by taking the provisional pole, the pole and a flag-to-flag win on race day. Carpentier even made good sort of on a vow to run the course naked following his victory. He ran a 50-yard sprint down a deserted track, clad in boxer shorts made from a checkered flag replica.
Carpentier's teammate Paul Tracy has been on the Mid-Ohio podium four times, by virtue of his second-place finishes in 1992, 1994, 1995 and 1999 and he believes "getting that first win at Mid-Ohio couldn't come at a better time than this weekend." Tracy, who has led in the drivers' championship for much of the season, fell three points (164-161) behind Brazil's Bruno Junqueira after a DNF at Road America last weekend ended a streak of five straight podiums, including two consecutive victories.
"I look at the early exit at Road America as a setback in that we lost our lead in the drivers' championship, but at this stage of the season, with seven races to go, it isn't a catastrophe by any means," remarked Tracy. "I've said for weeks that I believe the championship battle is going to go right down to the wire, and the driver that wins it will be the one who makes the fewest mistakes. We made one mistake too many last weekend and it cost us some precious points. But Team Player's has been so consistent all season long, I see no reason why we can't recapture that winning formula at Mid-Ohio."
Carpentier, fresh off a fifth-place finish at Road America, acknowledges that winning races at the same venue in consecutive years is a difficult chore. But he is encouraged by the third-place qualifying performance at Road America, a track that has given him trouble over the years, and the car's performance during the race Carpentier was on the podium before falling back as a result of an air-jack problem during a pit stop.
"I'd definitely settle for a repeat of last year's race at Mid-Ohio," added Carpentier, who was also on the Mid-Ohio podium with a third-place finish in 2001. "I could use the 23 points right now, not just because I need to start moving up in the standings, but I'm hungry for another race win." If he should win, Carpentier says he has no plans for a post-victory "streak" around the track. "I learned my lesson last year about opening my mouth without thinking, so I'm not going to make any more promises during this year's race weekend in Mid-Ohio."
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio 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 at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.