Toronto, Ontario, July 12, 2001 No one needs to remind Team Player's of the special status of the next race in the FedEx CART Championship. Molson Indy Toronto, the site of Round 10 in the series, is one of two Canadian stops on the 21-race ...
Toronto, Ontario, July 12, 2001 No one needs to remind Team Player's of the special status of the next race in the FedEx CART Championship. Molson Indy Toronto, the site of Round 10 in the series, is one of two Canadian stops on the 21-race schedule, providing members of Team Player's with a rare opportunity to strut their skills in front of a home crowd.
Team Player's has plenty of Canadian content that would like to make the homecoming an historic occasion by producing the team's first victory in Toronto, to go along with the podium finish fashioned by Jacques Villeneuve in 1995. In addition to Montreal-born drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani, other Canadians with Team Player's include team manager Phil LePan, assistant engineer Eric Zeto and mechanic Neil Campbell, all from the Toronto region, chief engineers Michael Cannon and Kelly Loewen, of Montreal and Lethbridge, Alberta, respectively, and Dave "Foggy" Fitzgerald, the team's tire specialist and transporter driver.
"We talk quite a lot about Molson Indy Toronto and how much it means to us," said Carpentier, who is making his fifth CART appearance in Toronto. "All of us want to be able to put on a good show for the Canadian crowd, and you can be sure we're all going to give that extra effort to put up some good results." Before he sets out to beat his CART rivals, however, Carpentier will be beating the drums on Friday night, as he joins fellow driver Kenny Brack and two CART staffers for the first performance by their newly formed band, RPM.
Looking ahead to race day, Carpentier said the fact this is one of only two events in Canada this season doesn't apply extra pressure on the home-grown drivers. "You can't let yourself get too pumped up because you need to focus on the job you have to do, " explained Carpentier, who made a stirring comeback from 17th on the starting grid to post his best Toronto finish seventh place last year.
For Tagliani, last year's Molson Indy Toronto was his first as a CART driver. A former winner in Toronto as a Team Player's driver in the Atlantic series, Tagliani delivered an impressive performance in his CART debut on the streets of the city, aggressively making his way up the field to take fifth place, after starting 19th on the grid. Tagliani's resurgence earned him the Hard Charger Award for the Toronto race.
"Coming back from 19th on the grid to get into the top 5 in Toronto was one of my biggest thrills in my rookie season," said Tagliani, who is among 18 Team Player's members taking part in the Greg Moore Foundation golf tournament at this year's Molson Indy Toronto. "Toronto is a tough track because it has some concrete patches that can pose a problem, especially if we happen to get wet weather. The key is making sure you stay in the hunt and that you're around at the finish. We've been around at the finish and in the points in three of our last four races, so that's encouraging as we prepare for Toronto."
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 95-lap race live on the Global network starting at 1 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.