CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee: Team Player's preview

Team Player'S seeks to carry the momentum of Motegi to The Milwaukee Mile in return to CART Series action. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 30, 2002 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier already has his name etched in the annals of the Milwaukee...

Team Player'S seeks to carry the momentum of Motegi to The Milwaukee Mile in return to CART Series action.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 30, 2002 Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier already has his name etched in the annals of the Milwaukee Mile, the venerable racing oval that is the site of Round 4 in the FedEx CART Championship this Sunday. Carpentier is in the record book for the fastest qualifying lap a blistering time of 20.028 seconds in 1998 but he is determined to get his name inscribed in the Milwaukee ledger in the category of race winners.

"I'm happy that my qualifying record is still standing, but the most important thing for me is a race win on the Milwaukee Mile," said Carpentier, as he and his Team Player's teammate Alex Tagliani prepared to tackle the 1.032-mile oval that is the venue for the Miller Lite 225. "I've had some good times on the Milwaukee Mile, like the third-place podium two years ago. But I've had some disappointments there, too, like not being able to finish the year I won the pole. Still, it's always a lot of fun running laps on a track with so much tradition."

While the pole-sitter has won the last two Milwaukee races, Kenny Brack in 2001 and Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000 only seven of the last 22 winners have come from the top spot on the starting grid. On a track that undergoes a lot of changes as the race weekend progresses, strong performances in practice and qualifying don't always hold up on race day.

"Based on the testing that Team Player's had on the Milwaukee Mile just recently, we're going into Milwaukee looking for more downforce because it's the type of track where it can be tough to get good grip," explained Carpentier. "But we're coming off a very productive result on the Japan oval (2nd place by Tagliani, 4th by Carpentier), so that's a big confidence-boost going into this next race."

Tagliani, who earned a third-place podium finish in Milwaukee while racing in the Atlantic series in 1998, spent some time Thursday giving current Atlantic drivers an orientation session on the Milwaukee oval.

"It's a way of giving something back to the series that played a big role in my development as a driver," remarked Tagliani, who will be making his third start on the Milwaukee oval as a CART driver. "This is a tough track to drive on. You not only have to have patience but you need a lot of concentration. You have to constantly remind yourself to stay within your limits, put your pride aside and make sure you don't try to do more than the car is capable of doing."

While the two Team Player's drivers haven't raced competitively since the last week of April in Japan because of the break in the CART series schedule, Tagliani doesn't expect it will take long to get back into the racing mode.

"Once I've run a few laps of the practice session on Friday, that's all it takes to get the juices flowing again," he said. "Anyway, the time between races doesn't seem as long when you're coming off a productive performance like Team Player's had in the previous race in Japan."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Miller Lite 225 throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network starting at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

-player's-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya