Portland, Oregon, June 21, 2001 Coming off a race in which its cars were among the quickest on the circuit, Team Player's is hoping that trend will continue on the exceptionally fast Portland road course this weekend when the FedEx CART ...
Portland, Oregon, June 21, 2001 Coming off a race in which its cars were among the quickest on the circuit, Team Player's is hoping that trend will continue on the exceptionally fast Portland road course this weekend when the FedEx CART Championship resumes with the presentation of Round 8 in the series.
Last weekend on the Detroit street circuit, Team Player's drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani consistently clocked impressive lap times during the race. Carpentier parlayed the fast laps into an eighth-place finish and his first points of the season.
The five points that Carpentier earned in Detroit enabled him to make a breakthrough in the drivers' standings, achieving one of the goals he had set for the weekend. His goal in Portland is to get enough points to work his way into the top 13 in the standings, which would move him into the fast group in qualifying sessions. Thus far, Carpentier has had to try and secure a respectable qualifying position from the first group, and while he was successful in doing that last weekend, it's a tough feat to accomplish on a consistent basis.
"There's so much more you can do if you can get into that second qualifying group," explained Carpentier. "I'm looking to have an even better performance this weekend than I had at Detroit, so I can either get into the top 13 or move closer to this position in the standings. Once we do that, with the fast car that Team Player's has, we should be in great shape."
Carpentier, who along with his teammate went windsurfing on the Columbia River Gorge in Hood River on Thursday, believes that he can take a significant step to achieving this latest goal on the 1.969-mile Portland road circuit, where he has finished in the top 10 in each of his last three races there.
"It's a real challenge but I like Portland a lot, and I've had some pretty good battles there," he remarked. "It's a fast, fairly smooth ride, although the last three corners are quite tough because they are basically three S-shaped corners in a row. The racing environment is one of the best you'll find in the series, with people watching from the hillside and from the top of their campers. It's the type of track I enjoy, and I believe I can excel there."
Tagliani raced on the Portland road course for the first time as a CART driver last season and he demonstrated the grit of a veteran as he boldly moved up several positions when an incident involving a few cars on the first corner of the opening lap forced Tagliani to go inside. Tagliani moved into a contending position and remained there until a fuel meter problem forced him out in the final 30 laps.
Like Carpentier, Tagliani is upbeat about the Portland race. "We've been a victim of circumstances in quite a few races since the start of the season.," he stated. "I'm not demoralized in the least. In fact, I think that type of adversity makes me even more determined. I know that Team Player's had some great results in all of its off-season testing on road courses and we've put in laps that are right up there with the leaders in most of the races so far. We have a car that should perform well on a speedy track like Portland, so I'm optimistic this could be our weekend.
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 at 4 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.