CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver: Team Player's preview

Team Player's drivers Tracy and Carpentier are no strangers to Molson Indy Vancouver podium. Vancouver, British Columbia, July 24, 2003 Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier of Team Player's have both experienced the sensation of standing on the ...

Team Player's drivers Tracy and Carpentier are no strangers to Molson Indy Vancouver podium.

Vancouver, British Columbia, July 24, 2003 Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier of Team Player's have both experienced the sensation of standing on the podium to the cheers of an exuberant home crowd at Molson Indy Vancouver. The two drivers are hoping that scenario will be repeated this Sunday, as the Champ Car World Series makes its second consecutive Canadian stop, following up the Tracy-dominated Toronto race with a 100-lap event on the Vancouver street circuit.

Tracy, who snared Team Player's first-ever race win in Canada with the emotion-charged triumph in his hometown of Toronto, has reached the Vancouver podium twice in the last three years. After finishing no better than eighth in eight previous starts in Vancouver, Tracy qualified on the front row and rolled to victory in 2000. Last year, he again was No. 2 on the starting grid and he was second at the finish, 1.2 seconds behind winner Dario Franchitti.

When Carpentier garnered his podium in Vancouver with a second-place finish in 1999, it was his first podium as a member of Team Player's. He earned the podium in dramatic fashion, after starting 11th on the grid. Carpentier steadily moved up the field as a deluge of rain led to chaos on the street course. He eventually got into second place with a couple of bold passing moves and held off a pressing Jimmy Vasser by four-tenths of a second.

"I was so happy to finally get that first podium with Team Player's that I was yelling and crying as I crossed the finish line," remembers Carpentier. "And then, being on the podium in front of that big crowd, it sent shivers down my spine. It was such a tremendous feeling, and I'd really like to have that feeling again this Sunday."

Tracy has become a familiar figure on podiums recently, with a third place, two seconds and a victory in his last four races. This string of success has enabled him to open up a 15-point lead over Brazil's Bruno Junqueira in the ferocious battle for the drivers' championship. Michel Jourdain and Carpentier are currently third and fourth respectively.

Tracy says he does not expect to have an emotional letdown after his phenomenal win in Toronto. "Once I'm in the car, I'm always able to be totally focused on racing," he remarked. "I like the idea of having back-to-back races in Canada. It's almost like having a homestand, the way it is in other sports. It's even more fun having a second straight race in Canada when you're coming off a victory in the first one. But I look at Vancouver the same way I do the other races on the schedule. We need to get maximum points because the way this season is shaping up, it's going to be a relentless fight for the championship."

Carpentier, who might have had a shot at a podium finish in Vancouver last year before looseness in the rear of his car led to a spin and a fifth-place finish, says that securing a top qualifying position is a major priority. "The winner in Vancouver has usually come from first or second on the grid," he noted. "There was one year when Roberto Moreno won from seventh, but in general, you'd better be close to the front because passing opportunities are limited once the race starts."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at Molson Indy Vancouver throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's web site. They can also watch the race live on the Global network at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Virtual Cockpit on www.teamplayers.ca

On race day, the "Virtual Cockpit" on www.teamplayers.ca offers fans an insider's look into the world of auto racing with real time telemetry and in-car audio. It's the closest thing to being in the driver's seat. From RPM, throttle and steering input displays to the current speed, track position and lap times, the data is coming straight from the engineers' computers on pit row!

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Roberto Moreno , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti