Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 17, 2000 Patrick Carpentier is still seeking his first career points at venerable Road America, but the Team Player's driver is confident his fortunes will change on that challenging road track when the FedEx CART...
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 17, 2000 Patrick Carpentier is still seeking his first career points at venerable Road America, but the Team Player's driver is confident his fortunes will change on that challenging road track when the FedEx CART Championship series stops there this weekend.
Since winning from the pole at Road America in the Atlantic series in 1996, Carpentier has encountered some misfortune on the 4.048-mile configuration that features a little bit of everything, including the Canada Corner. Carpentier isn't dwelling on the past, particularly since, this time, there are several positive factors working in his favour at Road America.
One of the favourable developments is that Carpentier will be qualifying in the fast group this weekend, by virtue of his ninth-place performance in qualifications at the Mid-Ohio road course last weekend before going on to record a seventh-place finish in the race. It was the seventh time in 10 races that Carpentier has finished in the top 7.
"Finishing ninth in qualifying at Mid-Ohio is an important factor for Team Player's going into the Road America qualifying session," said Carpentier. "You don't want to be too far back on the starting grid at Elkhart Lake because with a four-mile track it's often tough to catch up to the contenders if you have to work your way up the field. But at Mid-Ohio we improved throughout the weekend and that gives us something to build on.
"One of the things that pleases me about my season so far is that I've been able to get 35 of my points on road courses and 36 on ovals, so I've been pretty consistent in that regard. Now that I've managed to get back into the top 10, I want to maintain that consistency to continue climbing in the standings."
Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani also has some momentum heading into the grueling Road America race. Tagliani, who will be competing at Road America for the first time in his CART career, has strung together a pair of ninth-place finishes, fueling his optimism for a strong performance in Elkhart Lake.
"From my days in the Atlantic series, I always looked forward to racing at Road America, and I've had some success there in the past, including last year in Atlantic when I won the pole and finished on the podium," he remarked. "I know it will be my first time at Elkhart Lake as a driver in the CART series, but Team Player's tested at Road America a couple of weeks ago and things went well. Our fast laps were right up there with the contenders and we came away with a lot of useful information that will help us get ready for qualifying and the race.
With 41 points, Tagliani has moved into second place in the CART rookie standings, and he's looking to close the gap that separates him from rookie leader Kenny Brack, who has 88 points.
"If we can steadily pick up points in each race, we can have a strong finish to the season, which is one of my goals in this second half," stated Tagliani. "Qualifying is going to be a key at Road America because it's a track where you don't have too many yellows during the race, so you have to try to make sure you stay close to the leaders."
Road America is also the site of Round 9 in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, where Team Player's driver Andrew Bordin of Woodbridge, Ont., is the defending champion. Bordin is currently third in the drivers' standings with 91 points.