Cicero, Illinois, July 28, 2001 Fresh from last week's first career victory in the FedEx CART Championship, Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier turned in his seventh top-10 qualifying performance of the season on Saturday by clocking the ...
Cicero, Illinois, July 28, 2001 Fresh from last week's first career victory in the FedEx CART Championship, Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier turned in his seventh top-10 qualifying performance of the season on Saturday by clocking the ninth-fastest lap on the 1-mile Chicago oval as the grid was set for Sunday's Target Grand Prix.
Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani, who shaved more than three-tenths of a second off his time in the morning practice session, qualified on the outside of Row 7 as he seeks his fifth straight finish in the points. A pair of Brazilians pole-sitter Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves - make up the front row of the grid for the 225-lap race, the 12th of the season in the CART series.
Carpentier's qualifying time of 23.353 seconds (158.626 mph) was an improvement on his fastest lap in morning practice. He registered the time in the first of two qualifying laps that are accorded the drivers. As Carpentier was into his second lap, however, he went high into turn 1 and had to lift off as the car began to drift.
"My first qualifying lap was slow because I wanted to warm up the brakes," explained Carpentier. "When I went for my second lap, I pushed a little too hard going into turn 1 and I braked too late. As soon as the four wheels started to drift, I knew that my time on the second lap wasn't going to be good, so I aborted and came into the pits."
Carpentier came from 21st on the grid to win on the 2-mile superspeedway in Michigan last Sunday, but the tighter confines of the 1-mile Chicago oval will present a stiffer challenge for passing. "Starting ninth is actually very good on this track," added Carpentier. "Team Player's is very confident because we have a better set-up for the race than for qualifying. Last year, I started 12th here and passed several cars to get into fifth place, when the rear axle broke and ended my day. But from that experience we know that we can gain positions on the track and also in the pits. Plus, Team Player's has plenty of momentum after two straight podium finishes (Toronto and Michigan)."
Tagliani, who made a stirring comeback from 24th to 6th on the Michigan oval and charged from 25th to 12th on the 1-mile Milwaukee oval earlier in the season, says his main focus on Sunday is to stay on the lead lap. He believes he will be helped in this regard by the fact he has several cars behind him on the grid, and the leaders will have to go through plenty of traffic before they can catch up to him.
Commenting on his qualifying effort, Tagliani said Team Player's made some major changes to the car after it wasn't performing up to par in morning practice. "They went in the right direction with the changes, but I only had three laps to get accustomed to them," he noted. "At first, the car was running too loose, so I just adjusted the weight jacker, but I may have gone too far. When I finished my qualifying run, I was hoping I'd at least end up in the top 13. I'm only one position further down, plus we came out of the qualifying session feeling very confident about the race."
Local time Eastern time
Sunday, July 29 CART warm-up 11:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. noon 12:30 p.m. CART race 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
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SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2001
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