Fontana, California, November 2, 2001 Team Player's was a dominant force in Friday's practice session on the 2-mile super-speedway in Fontana as Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier clocked the fourth- and seventh-fastest laps respectively in ...
Fontana, California, November 2, 2001 Team Player's was a dominant force in Friday's practice session on the 2-mile super-speedway in Fontana as Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier clocked the fourth- and seventh-fastest laps respectively in preparation for The 500, the CART series season-finale on Sunday.
"The car was handling well everywhere on the track," said Tagliani, whose quick lap of 31.821 seconds (229.547 miles per hour) was just over a tenth of a second behind Sweden's Kenny Brack, who registered the fastest time in the combined sessions. "Overall, we've got an excellent car and it was definitely a lot of fun being out on that lightning-fast track today."
Tagliani shaved more than a half-second off his fastest lap of the morning session, when he ran with a fuel tank that was about three-quarters full. "In the afternoon session, Team Player's changed the aerodynamics on the car to set a good time," explained Tagliani. "After that, they removed some of the downforce to see how the car would handle and it handled incredibly well. We found some little things this afternoon that could help us for the race."
Team Player's is seeking its seventh podium of the season in Sunday's race. Two of the podiums have come on 2-mile super-speedways, including a victory by Carpentier in Michigan in July and a third-place in Germany in September. Carpentier served notice during Friday's practice session that he is a strong contender to again be a front-runner as he turned in a quick lap in 31.984 seconds (228.377 mph).
"The car was able to go up or down on the track with no problems whatsoever," said Carpentier. "I came in with five minutes left to go in the session because we were able to do everything we wanted to do. We feel so confident about the car set-up that we didn't even try to do a quick lap on a new set of tires at the end. Once I had put in my quick lap, I spent the rest of the session trying to go into traffic all the time to see how the car would react and it handled real well."
Carpentier said the only problem he encountered during the two sessions was a bit of stickiness on the straight line of the track, causing the car to lose some speed. Carpentier added that the Team Player's crew is going to correct the aerodynamics on the car and this should improve the car's times on straight lines. "We know from today's sessions that we have a strong base and we'll just refine that base as we go along," he remarked.
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 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.