CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Players Laguna Seca preview

In Pursuit Of Their Respective Goals, Team Players Drivers Carpentier And Tagliani Have A Strong Resolve Heading Into Cart's Grand Prix Of Monterey Monterey, California, October 11, 2001 With three races left in the 2001 FedEx CART Championship,...

In Pursuit Of Their Respective Goals, Team Players Drivers Carpentier And Tagliani Have A Strong Resolve Heading Into Cart's Grand Prix Of Monterey

Monterey, California, October 11, 2001 With three races left in the 2001 FedEx CART Championship, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani still have some specific goals they are determined to achieve. Both drivers are hoping to make progress toward accomplishing their respective aims on the demanding Laguna Seca road course, a 2.238-mile layout that wends its way through one of the most picturesque settings in the CART series.

"It doesn't get any better than Laguna Seca, in terms of race setting and track layout," said Carpentier. "I would say it's still my favourite track from that standpoint even though I got a bit of an upside-down view of the scenery last year when the car vaulted the wall backwards in the Friday qualifying session."

Carpentier heads to Laguna Seca intent on continuing his surge up the CART drivers' standings. His more immediate goal is to make it into the top 5, and currently in seventh place with 86 points, he is within 19 points of moving into fifth place.

"In these last few races of the season, it's important to get as many points as you can," said Carpentier. "I would have liked to pick up more than three points in Houston last weekend, but under the circumstances of having to come from quite a ways back, the three points are certainly better than none. I like Team Player's chances at Laguna Seca. We've finished in the top 10 at Laguna Seca in each of the last two years, despite not getting that good a position in qualifying."

Carpentier added that qualifying is a big factor at Laguna Seca, a track where passing is a premium and where the tough corners and hilly areas combine to exact a toll on car equipment. Carpentier, who will be in the fast qualifying group Saturday, served both of his eight-minute red flag penalties in last weekend's Houston qualifying session so that he would be able to get in a full qualifying session at Laguna Seca. Statistics bear out the importance of qualifying at or near the front of the grid at the Monterey track, as 12 of the last 18 winners of the race started from the pole and no driver higher than 6th on the grid has won.

Winning is what Tagliani has in mind, as he tries to achieve his goal of earning his first career victory in the CART series before the November 4 ending of the season. Tagliani pushed hard for the win in Houston last weekend but came up just short when his car, running on worn tires, went off the track with six laps to go and Tagliani in second place.

"Despite the disappointment at the end of the race, there were a lot of positives," said Tagliani. "The big thing is that we were in a position to win in the final laps, and that shows what a fine job the Team Player's crew is doing to give us a contending car, race after race. That's why I'm as confident as ever about getting that first race win in one of the final three races. Team Player's was very effective in finding a proper set-up at Laguna last year and we had an extremely fast car there. I expect the car will be even more competitive this year."

Racing fans can follow the progress of Team Player's throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's web site at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live on The Sports Network starting at 4:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

-Player's-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani