Brooklyn, Michigan, July 21, 2000 After four straight events on road and street courses, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani reacquainted themselves with the high banks and blazing speeds of racing on a two-mile oval...
Brooklyn, Michigan, July 21, 2000 After four straight events on road and street courses, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani reacquainted themselves with the high banks and blazing speeds of racing on a two-mile oval during the first day of practice for the Michigan 500.
Although they couldn't match the pace set by Paul Tracy, who clocked the fastest lap with a time of 30.412 seconds, the Canadian duo was content on trying to find the right set-up for race day.
"I'd rather concentrate on being fast consistently over 250 laps than trying to be the fastest guy over a couple of laps for qualifying," said Carpentier, who ranked 17th with a time of 31.398 seconds for an average speed of 229.314 mph. "We ran most of the day on full tanks and despite a little bit of understeer, I believe we are going in the right direction in terms of having a car that will be stable in traffic, which is a key element if you want to be successful at Michigan."
His teammate Alex Tagliani, who benefited from an extra 20 minutes of practice time in an early morning rookie session, echoed the same sentiments about the importance of finding the right balance to go the distance in a 500-mile event.
"It's always nice to be near the top of the chart every time you are out on the track, but we felt it was more important to stick to our game plan and try out different things because it doesn't really matter where you find yourself on the grid, because if you have a good car on race day, you'll be able to move your way to the front," said Tagliani, who finished the day in 13th place with a fast lap of 31.093 seconds (231.563 mph).
Among the new aerodynamic components that Team Player's tested on Friday was a vertical stabilizer placed on top of the engine cover that looks strangely like a shark fin.
"I felt that we were losing too much speed when I lifted in corners 3 and 4, but I am not really worried about it, because I know that the Player's crew will make the proper ajustments and that we will be right there with the leaders for qualifying" said Tagliani, who will be going for his second pole of the season on Saturday, after claiming top spot on the grid in Rio.
Racing fans can watch the Michigan 500 live on The Sports Network at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday and track the progress of Carpentier and Tagliani all weekend long by logging on to our website at www.teamplayers.ca