CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Players Michigan race notes

Brooklyn, Michigan, July 23, 2000 At the forefront of an intense and enthralling battle at today's Fed Ex CART Championship's Michigan 500, Patrick Carpentier of Team Player's daringly drove to a fourth-place finish on the ultra-fast...

Brooklyn, Michigan, July 23, 2000 At the forefront of an intense and enthralling battle at today's Fed Ex CART Championship's Michigan 500, Patrick Carpentier of Team Player's daringly drove to a fourth-place finish on the ultra-fast super-oval, where the top four finishers were separated by a mere 2.1 seconds.

Colombia's Juan Montoya shot past American Michael Andretti on the last stretch to win the 250-lap race by four one-hundredths of a second, the third-closest margin of victory in CART history. Scotland's Dario Franchitti was third, edging Carpentier out of a podium finish by less than half a second.

Carpentier, who powered his way into second place from sixth on lap 183 and was in the hunt for the lead right to the final spine-tingling lap, earned his fifth top-5 finish in eight races in which he has competed this season.

Alex Tagliani, the Team Player's rookie driver, came from fourth place and surged into the lead on lap 155. He exchanged the lead with Andretti on the next lap and regained the lead from lap 157-160 before catching a bump on the track, which caused his Player's Reynard to spin and glance off the wall, ending his race.

"I was surprised by the bump and I just lost the rear part of the car," explained Tagliani. "As soon as I took the lead, I was lifting off so that the others could catch up, but it seemed that no one wanted to pass. Maybe when I was lifting off, I touched a middle line and picked up- the bump. I'm sorry for the Player's crew because the car was great and we were headed for a strong finish."

Carpentier, who battled Max Papis for fourth with a handful of laps to go, took over fourth place when Papis's engine gave out on lap 247. Carpentier then set his sights on getting past Franchitti.

"At that point, I wanted that podium badly," remarked Carpentier. "But the car had a bit of push in corners 3 and 4, and my guess is that Dario knew about it, so he was cutting my air out every time so that I wouldn't pass him. I wish I could have made it to the podium, but I'm happy with the result. It was a lot of fun out there. Team Player's delivered a very competitive car, we battled hard and we were right there at the finish."

Carpentier collected 12 points for finishing fourth and continues to climb in the drivers' standings. He is currently in eighth place with 65 points but is only 10 points out of fourth, held by Gil de Ferran. Tagliani ranks third in the rookie standings with 36 points, two fewer than second-place Oriol Servia of Spain.

Team Player's is back in action next Sunday for the Target Grand Prix, when the CART series stages Round 12 on the Chicago Motor Speedway's 1-mile oval.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Oriol Servia