Vancouver, British Columbia, September 3, 2000 The best-laid race plans sometimes go awry, and that was the fate that befell Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani at today's Molson Indy Vancouver, a FedEx CART Championship...
Vancouver, British Columbia, September 3, 2000 The best-laid race plans sometimes go awry, and that was the fate that befell Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani at today's Molson Indy Vancouver, a FedEx CART Championship event that neither driver was able to finish.
Canadian Paul Tracy took the checkered flag, grabbing the lead from his teammate, Dario Franchitti of Scotland, on lap 53 and remaining in front the rest of the way. Tracy crossed the finish line .384 seconds ahead of Franchitti and with a 19.031-second advantage over Adrian Fernandez in third.
Carpentier, seeking to at least match his second-place finish in Vancouver last year, was out of today's race on lap 4, when Tagliani's car, which was just behind him, made contact as Tagliani attempted to go by on the inside.
"When I entered the chicane on turn 10, my car started going a bit sideways, and it was at that point Alex may have seen an opening, but the opening really wasn't there," explained Carpentier. "It was a race incident, something that happens when you're battling out there on the race track. I gestured toward Alex when I got out of the car because in the heat of the moment, I was mad. I didn't think he was going to try to pass in that situation.
"It was a bit of a lost weekend, with the bad luck we had in qualifying and then being out of the race so early today. Obviously, it hurts even more because, with only two Canadian stops on the CART schedule, we wanted to do well in front of our home fans, the way we did last year. But in racing, you have to be able to take the bad with the good, and we'll just have to stay tough and move on to the next race at Laguna, where we did so well in testing there last week, with the third-fastest time overall."
Tagliani, whose car was not damaged during the contact, remained in the race until lap 64, a few laps after the front suspension was damaged when he got pushed into the tire barrier. "That's why I had so much trouble driving the car, and eventually had to park it," explained Tagliani, who had moved into 15th place by the time of the incident.
Of the contact with his teammate, Tagliani said he took the inside lane after he saw Carpentier graze the wall, causing the car to go sideways.
"Patrick managed to straighten the car, but by then, I was already committed to going inside," said Tagliani. "Suddenly, I was in his sidepod and there was nowhere for me to go, because that isn't a corner where you can have two cars side by side. We're all racing for the same thing out there, and when I saw Pat's car touch the wall, I saw an opportunity to move up a position. What happened was an unfortunate incident and I'm going to discuss it with Patrick and explain my side."
Tracy's victory boosted him into second place in the drivers' standings with 120 points, six fewer than Michael Andretti. Carpentier is 13th with 71 points, while Tagliani is 16th with 45.
Team Player's returns to action for Round 16 next Sunday on the 2.238-mile road course at Laguna Seca, California.