Monterey, California, September 7, 2000 - The FedEx CART Championship heads into the final quarter of the season with this Sunday's Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca, a demanding road course that will test the mettle of Team Player's drivers...
Monterey, California, September 7, 2000 - The FedEx CART Championship heads into the final quarter of the season with this Sunday's Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca, a demanding road course that will test the mettle of Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani.
Both drivers believe they are up for the challenge. Carpentier, despite running into some misfortune in his last two races, is only eight points from climbing into the top 10 in the drivers' standings. Tagliani, who had collected points in three straight races prior to last weekend in Vancouver, is only a point behind Spain's Oriol Servia for second place in the rookie standings.
"Whether you're fighting for the drivers' championship or trying to get the best position you can in the standings, every race the rest of the way is vital," remarked Carpentier, ninth at Laguna Seca in 1999. "We all have a competitive instinct and desire to succeed. I approach every race wanting to do the best I can, and I intend to follow through with that plan. Team Player's can still turns thing around. If we keep battling, something good is bound to happen."
"Racing at Laguna Seca is always something special. It's such a great setting for a race and as a driver you really get into racing on this type of track, with all of its elevation changes. I managed to win from the pole at Laguna a few years ago (1996) when I was in the Atlantic series, and I remember it was such a thrill to have conquered such a tough course."
Qualifying in a favourable position on the starting grid is important in any road-course event, but particularly so at Laguna Seca, where the pole-sitter has won 11 of the last 17 races and no winner has been lower than sixth on the grid.
"Finding the right set-up early in the weekend, the way the Team Player's crew did at Road America a few weeks ago, is going to be a big factor on a course like Laguna Seca," noted Tagliani. "If we can get back to a strong qualifying spot on the grid, we should be able to run with the leaders."
Tagliani said he has some additional motivation to perform well in Monterey, where he will be dealing with the famed Corkscrew for the first time as a driver in the CART series.
"I feel that I've learned quite a bit and made some progress through the first three-quarters of my rookie season in CART," stated Tagliani. "As we head into the final quarter of the season, I'm going to keep giving it everything I have because I really want to get on the podium to give something back to Team Player's for the confidence it has expressed in me and to the crew for the all the work they have done."
Team Player's driver Andrew Bordin will also be in action this weekend in the CART Toyota Atlantic series. He enters the 30-lap event in third place in the drivers' championship, with 103 points and has three races to close the 38-point gap that separates him from leader Buddy Rice.
Racing fans can track the progress of Team Player's all weekend by logging on to the team's web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the 83-lap Grand Prix of Monterey live on The Sports Network at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Local time Eastern time Friday, Sept. 8 CART practice 10:30 a.m. noon 1:30 p.m. 3:00 p.m. CART qualifying 2:30 p.m. 3:00 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 6:00 p.m. CART qualifying 3:15 p.m. 3:45 p.m. 6:15 p.m. 6:45 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 9 CART practice 10:00 a.m. 11:15 a.m. 1:00 p.m. 2:15 p.m. CART qualifying 1:45 p.m. 2:15 p.m. 4:45 p.m. 5:15 p.m. CART qualifying 2:30 p.m 3:00 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 10 CART warm-up 9:00 a.m. 9:30 a.m. noon. 12:30 p.m. CART race noon 3:00 p.m.