Brooklyn, Michigan, July 22, 2001 In what can only be described as one of the most exciting finishes in CART history, Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier took the checkered flag after a wild five-car shootout with nine laps to go in Sunday's...
Brooklyn, Michigan, July 22, 2001 In what can only be described as one of the most exciting finishes in CART history, Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier took the checkered flag after a wild five-car shootout with nine laps to go in Sunday's Harrah's 500, recording his first Champ Car victory in his 79th career start on the super oval at Michigan International Speedway.
" I wanted to be in second place heading into the final lap and that's exactly what happened," said an elated Carpentier, before getting mobbed by crew members and team officials inside winner's circle. "Then all of a sudden, I see Alex (Tagliani) who is one lap down ahead of me and I'm thinking ^ÑOh my god, what's he doing', but he ended up giving the pull I needed to jump into the lead."
Starting from the 21st spot on the grid, Carpentier, of Joliette, Que., methodically worked his way up the field and recorded the fastest lap of the race on lap 130 with a blistering speed of 221.219 mph. He was one of only five drivers on the lead lap for the last restart which came as a result of an incident between teammates Kenny Brack and Max Papis. Carpentier, who led a total of three laps, edged Scotland's Dario Franchitti by a mere 0.243 seconds, who beat out Mexico's Michel Jourdain Jr. in a photo-finish for second place.
"I'm just thrilled for everyone at Team Player's who worked so hard for this," added Carpentier, who learned earlier this week that team management had picked up the option of his contract for next season. "It's been tough getting to this point, but it makes it even sweeter. Alex's podium finish last weekend in Toronto gave us a huge lift and to follow it up with a win here in Michigan is just fantastic."
Alex Tagliani, who has now scored points in five of the last six races with a sixth-place finish in today's race, was ecstatic to see his teammate reach the top step of the podium.
"I'm really happy for him and the entire team, but let's just say he owes me one now, although I'm sure he would have done the same thing for me had the roles been reversed," quipped Tagliani, who sits 15th in the overall standings with 30 points. "To see Team Player's achieve the success it has had in the last two races after a difficult start to the season is simply phenomenal and believe me, this is only the beginning."
The win propels Carpentier from 21st to 14th position in the championship with 35 points. Kenny Brack remains in the lead with 84 points, followed by Dario Franchitti (81) and Helio Castroneves (75).
Round 12 of the CART FedEx Championship Series will take place next weekend on the one-mile oval at the Chicago Motor Speedway.