CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Players Homestead test report

Alex Tagliani sets torrid pace as Team Player's completes first oval testing sessions of the 2002 CART season. Homestead, Florida, March 27, 2002 Testing on an oval for the first time this year, Team Player's and driver Alex Tagliani set a pace...

Alex Tagliani sets torrid pace as Team Player's completes first oval testing sessions of the 2002 CART season.

Homestead, Florida, March 27, 2002 Testing on an oval for the first time this year, Team Player's and driver Alex Tagliani set a pace as torrid as the 47 C (118F) track temperature on the Homestead surface on Wednesday in completing a successful two-day session. Tagliani clocked a fast lap of 26.3 seconds the top speed of the day under those track conditions.

Tagliani had also put in the best time of 26.28 seconds during the Tuesday testing session on the 1.5-mile oval. In all, Team Player's ran 256 laps about 384 miles at the testing sessions, which had 10-15 other teams from the CART series on the track during the two days.

Team Player's main objective at the sessions was to work on set-ups with the new wing package that will be used on all ovals, with the likely exception of Fontana, in the 2002 FedEx CART championship. The two most immediate races in which the wing package will come into play are the ones in Motegi, Japan, and on the Milwaukee Mile.

"The results were very encouraging," said Team Player's technical director Bruce Ashmore of the sessions, for which both of the team's engineers Kelly Loewen and Michael Cannon, who oversee Tagliani's and Patrick Carpentier's cars respectively were on hand. "While the Homestead oval isn't identical to the one at Motegi, we were able to learn a great deal over the last two days. We tried out everything we had planned to do. We know where we're going as we prepare for the Japan race."

Team Player's is the only Reynard-chassis/Ford-engine package on the CART circuit this season, and Tagliani was eager to see how the new Reynard oval-specific undertray and body work would stack up, especially against the Lolas.

"I've come away from these two days very confident about our competitiveness," remarked Tagliani, who produced a strong fifth-place finish in the opening race of the CART season on the Monterrey, Mexico road course earlier this month. "Every track that we've been on so far, either for testing or for the race, we've been extremely competitive. We've been in the top 5, and that's our goal. The fast pace that we were able to set in the last two days means that we'll be going to Japan with lots of confidence. I expect that Team Player's will do well there."

Prior to the first oval race of the season April 27 at Motegi the Team Player's drivers will be on the streets of Long Beach for Round 2 of the series, on April 13. They will have another testing session on an oval following the Motegi event as they run laps on the Milwaukee Mile, site of the third race of the season, June 2nd.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Bruce Ashmore