Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 1, 2001 Battling understeer on a Milwaukee Mile oval that was made trickier by the changing weather conditions, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani clocked the 21st- and 23rd-fastest laps ...
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 1, 2001 Battling understeer on a Milwaukee Mile oval that was made trickier by the changing weather conditions, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani clocked the 21st- and 23rd-fastest laps respectively in Friday's practice session for the Miller Lite 225, the fifth race of the FedEx CART Championship season.
Rain wiped out the morning practice session, resulting in a two-hour practice run in the afternoon. While the track was dry for this session, the drivers made their way around the 1-mile oval under generally overcast skies and in a brisk breeze.
"We were quick at the start of practice one of the fastest cars out there," said Carpentier, who set the CART record at the Milwaukee Mile in 1998 when he clocked a pole-winning lap of 20.028 seconds. "We made some changes to the car to try to improve on those times even more, but when I got back out there, I found myself struggling with understeer. I had a hard time holding the car in the corners. We believe a component might have broken in the suspension. Following that, we had a problem with the engine and as a result we went to the back-up car with 45 minutes to go in the session."
While conceding that the results in practice were a bit disappointing, Carpentier added, "the morale is still good. We're usually pretty quick on the short ovals like this one, so I'm confident things will work out in the qualifying session on Saturday."
Tagliani also put in some quick laps early in the practice session but he said the car had understeer, prompting the Team Player's crew to make some changes to the suspension geometry, a procedure that requires a fair amount of time.
"That's where the cancellation of the morning practice because of the rain came into play," explained Tagliani. "The problems we were having would have occurred in the morning practice and we would have been able to get them fixed for our afternoon run. As things turned out, by the time everything was done on the car in the afternoon, there were only 10 minutes left in the session, so time was a factor. We'll work things out tonight and we should improve our times tomorrow."
Brazilian Helio Castroneves, fresh off his Indianapolis 500 win last weekend, registered the fastest lap of the Friday session in a time of 22.300 seconds. Fellow countryman Cristiano da Matta was second and Sweden's Kenny Brack was third.