Portland, Oregon, June 24, 2000 Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani, who respectively sit on the outside of Row 6 and the inside of Row 8 for Sunday's FedEx CART Championship race on Portland's 1.969-mile road course, ...
Portland, Oregon, June 24, 2000 Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani, who respectively sit on the outside of Row 6 and the inside of Row 8 for Sunday's FedEx CART Championship race on Portland's 1.969-mile road course, are confident that sound strategy and racing savvy will enable them to work their way into contention.
"Starting 12th means that I'll have to be more aggressive," explained Carpentier, who has finished in the top 5 in three of the four races he has competed this season. "There are not too many places to pass on this track. The only good place is corner 1. But we've seen so far this season that you can make a lot of progress with good pit stops and taking advantage of every opportunity."
A pair of Brazilian drivers share the front row of the grid for the eighth race of the CART season, as Helio Castroneves earned the pole with a track-record qualifying lap of 57.738 seconds (122.768 miles per hour) and Gil de Ferran clocked a quick lap in 57.820 (122.594 mph). The top seven drivers in today's qualifying session all shattered the record qualifying time of 58.193 seconds that Juan Montoya set last year.
Carpentier, whose fast lap of 58.659 seconds was the 12th-best time, missed most of the morning practice session because of a broken turbo hose, and Team Player's was thus unable to test the changes they had planned for the car. Carpentier was among the leaders when he put in a fast lap on his first set of tires, although he reported the car had too much push.
"The Player's team changed the front springs, and I guess we may have gone a bit too far," he explained. "Then, on my second set of tires, I got stuck in traffic and couldn't put in a good lap when the tires were at their best. For the race, we're going to go back to Friday's set-up, which enabled us to clock the third-fastest time."
Tagliani recorded the 15th-fastest lap (59.352 seconds) using his backup car, after an oil leak sidelined the No. 1 car.
"I went out with the back-up with only four minutes left, and I managed a decent time considering the fact it was my first time on the track with it, and it didn't have the proper shocks and springs," remarked Tagliani. "We also had to use the sticker tires, and it's hard to get them up to temperature in only four laps. I'm still optimistic about the race. The Player's team will come up with the right set-up on the backup car, and I'm more than ready to work my way toward the front."
Racing fans can watch the 112-lap Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 live on The Sports Network at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.