Corby, England, September 19, 2001 Seeking its sixth podium in the last eight FedEx CART Championship races, Team Player's will be completing the second leg of the series' European tour on Saturday when drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex...
Corby, England, September 19, 2001 Seeking its sixth podium in the last eight FedEx CART Championship races, Team Player's will be completing the second leg of the series' European tour on Saturday when drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani compete in the inaugural Rockingham 500 on the 1.5-mile oval.
"It's a really fast oval that is shorter and configured differently than the 2-mile tri-oval we raced on in Germany last weekend," explained Carpentier. "But the banking is steeper at Rockingham (maximum 7.9 degrees) and it's probably going to result in a lot of wheel-to-wheel racing and quite a few lead changes during the race. Champ cars haven't raced in England for 23 years, so this a great opportunity for Team Player's to maintain its success in a new venue and to give racing fans here a good indication of the high-calibre of CART racing."
While the Rockingham track is more like a squared oval, Carpentier said it won't take long to get accustomed to this type of configuration. "Once we've had the opportunity to run a few practice laps on Thursday, that's basically all we need to get familiar with the track," he explained. In a private testing session at Rockingham by Coyne Racing in July, driver Johnny Herbert clocked a fast lap in 27.242 seconds, for an average speed of 198.223 miles per hour.
Carpentier, who has climbed to seventh place in the drivers' standings with 83 points three points out of fifth spot has been on the podium in four of the last six races, including a third-place finish in Germany last Saturday and has finished six consecutive races. "To have that type of consistency, you need reliability with the car, and Team Player's has certainly had that for the last several races," remarked Carpentier. "We've had a very competitive car on every type of track, and I'm confident that will continue on the Rockingham oval."
Carpentier's teammate Alex Tagliani, who experienced muscle spasms and lower back soreness following last Saturday's on-track incident involving Alex Zanardi, said he is physically and mentally prepared to race in England. He has spent much of the week working with Team Player's physiotherapist Anthony Young, performing stretching exercises to loosen his back muscles.
"It might seem a bit strange to say it, but right now the spot where I feel most comfortable is behind the wheel of my Champ car," declared Tagliani. "From an early age, I've had a passion for racing, and now that driving a race car is my job, I still have that passion. When I drive on the Rockingham circuit, I am still going to be the same Alex Tagliani. Certainly, I think about Alex Zanardi a lot and my thoughts and prayers and support go out to him."
Heading into Round 16 of the championship, Sweden's Kenny Brack has the lead in the extremely competitive drivers' standings with 131 points. Brazil's Gil de Ferran has 120 points and American Michael Andretti is third with 115 points.
Racing fans can follow the progress of Team Player's throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network starting at 7:30 a.m. (ET) on Saturday.
Local time Eastern time (- 5) Thursday, Sept. 20 CART practice 9:30 a.m. 11:15a.m. 4:30 a.m. 6:15 a.m. CART practice 1:45 p.m. 3:15 p.m. 8:45 a.m. 10:15 a.m.
Friday, Sept. 21 CART practice 9:30 a.m. 10:15a.m. 4:30 a.m. 5:15 a.m. 10:30 a.m. 11:15a.m. 5:30 a.m. 6:15 a.m. CART qualifying 1:30 p.m. 3:30p.m. 8:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 22 CART warm-up 9:00 a.m. 9:30a.m. 4:00 a.m. 4:30 a.m. CART race 12:30 p.m. 7:30 a.m.