CHAMPCAR/CART: team Player's Mid-Ohio preview

Lexington, Ohio, August 10, 2000 This weekend's Miller Lite 200 on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car road course signals the start of a crucial segment of the FedEx CART Championship, and Canadian drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani are ...

Lexington, Ohio, August 10, 2000 This weekend's Miller Lite 200 on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car road course signals the start of a crucial segment of the FedEx CART Championship, and Canadian drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani are determined to make this a productive stretch for Team Player's.

"The next four races are going to be a big test because all of them are on road or street circuits," remarked Carpentier. "We've done quite well in the races on this type of course this season but quite often we've struggled in qualifying. Team Player's has been working hard to come up with the right set-ups on road courses, and, hopefully, we'll start to make some progress in this regard at Mid-Ohio, where being near the front of the grid is a key factor."

Carpentier missed last year's race on the 2.258-mile road course that is one of the most demanding in the CART series. The Team Player's driver sat out because of soreness in his chest and back, the result of injuries he sustained at the Grand Prix of Detroit, the race prior to Mid-Ohio.

Carpentier has good reason to be upbeat heading into this year's Miller Lite 200. He has finished in the top 10 in all four road- or street-course events in which he has competed this season, including fifth-place finishes in Detroit and Cleveland. He has been out of the points only once in his last seven races, and that DNF occurred on the Chicago oval two weeks ago.

"We were pretty consistent at being in the points and running at the front of the pack until we had some misfortune and were unable to finish the last race in Chicago," admitted Carpentier. "But it was only the second time in nine races this year that we weren't around at the finish. It's something that is going to happen over the course of a long season. The important thing is to put it out of your mind and start working on another successful streak. That's what Team Player's intends to do, starting with the race at Mid-Ohio."

Tagliani, who has compiled 30 of his 40 points on road and street courses, will be making his first appearance at Mid-Ohio as a driver in the CART series. He is very familiar with the terrain of this rural track from his days in the Atlantic series in four races at Mid-Ohio, he garnered one pole and one podium, a second-place finish at last year's event.

Like Carpentier, Tagliani is bullish on Team Player's chances for success at Mid-Ohio.

"Although we haven't always qualified near the front of the grid on street and road courses so far this season, we've always battled hard and been very competitive in the races," he declared. "We've been in the top 6 three times, and a lot of that can be attributed to some good work by the Team Player's crew during the race. If we can make some progress with our qualifying, we have a good chance to produce a top result in the race."

Racing fans can track the progress of Team Player's throughout the weekend by logging into the team's web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the 83-lap Miller Lite 200 live on The Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani