Nazareth, Pennsylvania, April 7, 2000 Cold tires were about the only thing that stood in the way of Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier posting the fastest time in today's practice session for the FedEx CART Championship race at the Nazareth...
Nazareth, Pennsylvania, April 7, 2000 Cold tires were about the only thing that stood in the way of Team Player's driver Patrick Carpentier posting the fastest time in today's practice session for the FedEx CART Championship race at the Nazareth Speedway on Sunday.
Carpentier, who was among the top drivers throughout the session, finished with the fifth-fastest time, while his teammate Alex Tagliani was 17th. Carpentier was only three-tenths of a second off the pace set by Juan Montoya, who clocked a time of 19.189 seconds.
"We were trying to stay in the top 3, so the Player's team put new tires on the car and I went back out on the track with five minutes to go in the session," explained Carpentier. "I was looking for a clean lap, but suddenly a low-pressure oil light came on inside the car and I radioed the crew.
"They told me it was a false alarm and to go ahead and resume my attempt for a quick lap. I accelerated but I guess the tires got too cold when I slowed down and I simply lost it."
Carpentier slid off the track but was unhurt.
"I'm sure I could have improved on my time if the tires hadn't got cold because I had an excellent car today," he remarked. "It augurs well for the qualifying session tomorrow."
Tagliani, one of the promising rookies on the CART scene this season, was ninth after putting in a quick lap on the 18th lap of his afternoon practice session. However, a combination of premature tire wear, some minor set-up problems and getting caught in heavy traffic pushed him a bit farther down the pack.
"The car isn't handling as well on used tires, and we weren't able to come close to the times we got on new tires," said Tagliani. "We did a fast lap early in the afternoon that put us in the top 10. But then, when I tried to find a clear lap near the end of the session, everyone was out on the track and I got held up a bit.
"Hopefully, the weather will be nice for the qualifying tomorrow, so we can put in some fast laps that will get us near the front of the grid."
Racing fans can watch the 225-lap Busch Spark Plug Grand Prix of Nazareth live on The Sports Network at 1 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.