CHAMPCAR/CART: Vancouver: Team Player's preview

Riding the wave of its recent victory, Team Player's seeks to extend its success in front of home crowd at Molson Indy Vancouver. Vancouver, British Columbia, July 25, 2002 Team Player's has had some memorable moments at Molson Indy Vancouver...

Riding the wave of its recent victory, Team Player's seeks to extend its success in front of home crowd at Molson Indy Vancouver.

Vancouver, British Columbia, July 25, 2002 Team Player's has had some memorable moments at Molson Indy Vancouver and drivers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani are hoping that trend continues at the 2002 edition of the 100-lap CART series event on the 1.781-mile street course at Pacific Place.

A year ago, the Team Player's driver duo thrilled the home crowd as Tagliani won the pole and Carpentier earned the other front-row position on the starting grid. On race day, Tagliani led through the halfway point before a mechanical failure forced him to retire. Carpentier was running fourth with just over 20 laps to go when his car was punted off the track, effectively put him out of contention.

Prior to the incident, Carpentier had his sights set on a return to the podium at Molson Indy Vancouver in 1999, he became the first Canadian driver to mount the Vancouver podium when he garnered a second-place finish. While Carpentier hasn't encountered similar success in his last two races in Vancouver, he is entering this year's event on a high note following his first victory of the season. Carpentier ended Cristiano da Matta's four-race winning streak by taking the checkered flag on the temporary road course in Cleveland on July 14.

"Fortunately, the one-week break in the schedule has given me a chance to unwind from the emotional win in Cleveland," said Carpentier, who along with his teammate Tagliani has been doing a lot of off-track activities since arriving in Vancouver, including a sea-dooing session at the Plaza of Nations. "The fans' response to the Team Player's win in Cleveland was phenomenal. I'm happy that I was finally able to reward them for their faith in me. It's always great to be back home racing in front of our Canadian fans but it's even more special this time because it comes right after getting our first win of the season."

Tagliani heads into the 10th race of the 19-event CART schedule buoyed by a strong performance in Cleveland, as he recorded his third straight top-5 finish. Tagliani has also collected points in five consecutive races. He regards the Vancouver race as an opportunity to complete some unfinished business he still regards the stunning end to his race last year as one of the biggest disappointments of his CART career.

"Winning the pole and having an all Team Player's front row on the grid and receiving such a tremendous response from the crowd is something I'll always fondly remember," he remarked. "But it was such a devastating blow when our gearbox gave out after leading through the halfway point of the race."

Tagliani is encouraged by the fact that Team Player's, with its Reynard chassis, was a dominant force right from the first practice session in Vancouver last year. On race day, Reynard chassis cars swept all three podium positions for the third straight year at Molson Indy Vancouver.

"We had a car that was very compatible with that street course, and if we can come up with the same thing again I like our chances in the races," said Tagliani.

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at Molson Indy Vancouver throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race live the Global network starting at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

-tp-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani