CHAMPCAR/CART: Player's Milwaukee qualifying report

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 2, 2001 Persistent showers at The Milwaukee Mile forced FedEx CART Championship officials to cancel Saturday's qualifying for the Miller Lite 225. As a result, the starting grid for Sunday's race is determined, in ...

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 2, 2001 Persistent showers at The Milwaukee Mile forced FedEx CART Championship officials to cancel Saturday's qualifying for the Miller Lite 225. As a result, the starting grid for Sunday's race is determined, in accordance with CART rules, by the points accumulated thus far in the drivers' standings.

The cancellation thus has a significant impact on Team Player's drivers Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier, who are currently 26th and 27th respectively in the standings. The two drivers will be starting the race on the tight, 1-mile short oval from the back row of the grid (25th and 26th).

"Obviously, Team Player's would have much preferred to have a qualifying session where we could control our own fate," remarked Carpentier. "Because of the bad weather, Mother Nature determined our position on the grid. It's not an enviable position to be in but we're just going to have to do the best we can with the cards we've been dealt. I know that I would rather have been out on the track competing this afternoon than standing under the tent watching the rain fall."

Rain descended on the track early in the day, wiping out the scheduled morning practice session. The Team Player's crew had hoped to use the practice run to get a good read on how the car was performing after a number of changes were made to it following Friday's practice session.

"It's really too bad because the Team Player's crew worked very hard today preparing the car for the race and checking all the components before they installed them in the car," explained Carpentier. "We'll still have the chance to see how the car handles in the warmup on Sunday morning, but that's only a 30-minute session. It's really not much time to assess things. But one thing this team always does is prepare a good car for the race and I see no reason why it will be any different tomorrow."

Tagliani acknowledged that starting from the back of the grid is a tough task, especially on a short oval. "We're going to have to watch out for the drivers at the front of the grid because a lap around this oval only takes about 20 seconds and there are 26 of us on the track," he remarked. "As they come around, they can be in your gearbox pretty quickly. We have to hope there's a caution almost right away so we can go out of pit-stop sequence from the leaders. That would remove some of the pressure. Team Player's strategy and how the race unfolds will be factors in the outcome, but I've got confidence that luck will be with me."

Based on the current drivers' standings, Sunday's starting grid has Sweden's Kenny Brack (49 points) and Brazilian Helio Castroneves (47 points) on the front row. Fellow Brazilian Cristiano da Matta and Canadian Paul Tracy, who each have 40 points, make up Row 2.

-Player's

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Kenny Brack , Cristiano da Matta