Team Player's seeking to ride the Road America roller coaster to the top as Champ Car World Series moves on to Round 12 Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, July 31, 2003 - Road America has a history of making life miserable for Champ Car drivers, but Team...
Team Player's seeking to ride the Road America roller coaster to the top as Champ Car World Series moves on to Round 12
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, July 31, 2003 - Road America has a history of making life miserable for Champ Car drivers, but Team Player's driver Paul Tracy, who has two career wins on the winding and exacting 4.048-mile road course, regards it as his favourite track in the Champ Car World Series. And while Patrick Carpentier hasn't had the same success, he is just as eager to renew acquaintance with the venerable circuit, a meeting that will occur this Sunday as the series moves into Round 12 with the running of the 60-lap Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America.
"I was disappointed when the Champ Car World Series schedule came out before the start of the season and Road America wasn't on it," related Tracy. "I'm glad all the issues got resolved, and here we are ready for this awesome roller-coaster ride that never stops sending a tingle up and down your spine."
Tracy, the leading driver in the Champ Car World Series - a 161-141 edge over closest rival Bruno Junqueira - has been delivering some excitement of his own recently, winning back-to-back races in Toronto and Vancouver respectively, and making five straight visits to the podium. Tracy has eight podiums this season, already equalling the career high he established in the 1993 and 1994 seasons. He has also won five races, matching his career high, set in 1993. Tracy has eight races left on the 2003 schedule to surpass these totals.
"Even with the success that Team Player's has had of late, we still haven't opened up that much of a lead in the drivers' championship, so we're going to need to stay as sharp as we've been and maintain that great chemistry for the Road America race," remarked Tracy. "Like the race circuit itself, I've had plenty of ups and downs at Road America, but I'm proud of being able to win twice there, especially coming back to win from 23rd place in 2000. That win doesn't top the one in Toronto two weeks ago, but I still consider it my most dramatic win."
Carpentier, meanwhile, is looking to get back into the groove that he was in a few races ago, when he strung together consecutive podiums - third place on the Milwaukee oval and a victory on the Laguna Seca road course. He seemed destined to return to the podium last Sunday in Vancouver, but contact by back-marker Mario Dominguez ended his race on lap 60, while he was running in second, just behind Tracy.
Carpentier acknowledged that he is still frustrated by the incident, but added: "I'm not going to keep thinking about what might have been. We've got to start preparing for another race right away, and when that race is Road America, you'd better put all your focus on being able to handle the Carousel and the Kink and all of the other twists and turns that make it so tough on both cars and drivers."
After failing to finish at Road America the first four times he raced there, Carpentier was ninth and seventh respectively in 2001 and 2002. But he has never qualified better than 12th and he realizes that must change if he is to contend for a podium. "The key will be finding a proper setup from day one," he stated. "We struggled in qualifying the last two races, but once we got into second place during the race in Vancouver, everything was working smoothly for Team Player's, and that's encouraging for this weekend at Road America."
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch a tape delay of the race on The Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
SERVICES PROVIDED FOR GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA
Results of Team Player's drivers' performances in practice, qualifying and the race will be sent out daily. Photos of Team Player's will be sent out on the CNW wire of Canadian Press, as well as to subscribers of our e-mail transmission service.
RADIO STATIONS: Interview clips of the Team Player's drivers are available at the end of each day's activities. You can download professional quality audio in MP3 or WAV by logging on to them by logging on to the website: http://w3.teamplayers.ca/newsmedia/2003