Alex Tagliani: A true Canadian racer
Photo by Paul Ellis/TheRacingExperts.com

Alex Tagliani's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.




By Steven Ellis
Staff Reporter
August 30, 2015
sellis@theracingexperts.net

 

 

BOWMANVILLEOn Canadian soil for the first and only time this season, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series traveled north of the border to tackle the tricky ten turn road course in Bowmanville, Ontario. Like every road course event taking place in the three major NASCAR touring series', the Truck race in Canada always brings some of the best road course ringers around in an attempt to help teams get an extra solid finish.

 

One of those guys is Tagliani, an Indycar turned stockcar driver from Quebec.

 

Tagliani is easily the busiest driver of the weekend, suiting in three of the four series' at the track over Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps his best chance to win will come in the main event, driving the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing for the Chevy Silverado 250 truck race. Before that, Tagliani will pilot the No. 18 Epipen Chevy for his own Canadian Tire Series team, as well as the No. 75 Fast Wheels Ford Mustang in the Canadian Tour Car Championship series before everything comes to a close.



He didn't even need to wait until Sunday to grab his first win of the weekend, showing a good pace in the CTCC race to finish on top of the podium, just before getting the pole for the main truck event.

 

Tagliani doesn't have a long history at the track better known as Mosport, but that doesn't seem to change things. Like many of his Canadian peers, including track owner and former NASCAR winner Ron Fellows,“Tags” grew up racing on many road course tracks around the country. Not including last year's truck event, which saw Tagliani finish 16th at CTMP after some late race issues, his last previous start at the famed Canadian circuit came back in 2008, and that was before the track was fixed up by Fellows and company.



Photo by Paul Ellis/TheRacingExperts.com

Alex Tagliani's No. 75 Mustang.


Photo by Paul Ellis/TheRacingExperts.com
Alex Tagliani's No. 18 Epipen Chevy.

On the Canadian Tire Series side, Tagliani was a top ten driver in both practices, eventually resulting in  a fourth place start. His truck team was much more dominant, finishing in the top two in both practice sessions before grabbing the pole. Acting somewhat as a mentor for championship contender and rookie teammate Tyler Reddick, Tagliani finished the first practice with a session leading speed of 109.853, -0.693 better than Erik Jones. The roles would be reversed for the second practice, however, finishing with a 110.364, but still just -0.052 off of Erik Jones' fastest lap to finish second place.

 

A two-time winner this season in the NASCAR series in Canada, Tagliani is confident that his past experience, mixed in with driving for BKR, should give him a good chance with his Camping World Truck Series effort once the green flag is dropped on Sunday.

 

“It's not every day that a Canadian guy get a call from Brad Keselowski and (gets told) “hey, come drive my truck,” said Tagliani following a successful qualifying effort Saturday night.

 

Tagliani isn't new to NASCAR, but with one prior truck race under his belt, his experience in his current vechicle isn't very rich. Tagliani's career will most likely be remembered for his skill in an open wheel car, driving for the likes of A.J. Foyt, Chip Ganassi, the old famous Player's team and more. He even became the first (and currently, only) Canadian driver to earn a pole at the Indy 500, something he did in 2012 for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

 

Eventually, after a stint with Bryan Herta Motorsports ended in 2013, Tagliani's opportunities quickly became dry. While losing your job may seem like an awful thing to happen, Tagliani's career has opened up even further, with him seeing time in both NASCAR and the Tudor Sportscar Series. While he still hasn't returned to Indycar, he has yet to miss an Indy 500 since 2009.

 

Tagliani, who will be inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame this October, could pull off a very spectacular feat by winning three races in the same day, giving four on the weekend. But if he does do so, he'll be doing it with a heavy heart. The racing world lost Indycar driver Justin Wilson to a severe head injury following the race at Pocono last week.

 

Tagliani, of course, was a competitor of Wilson's in both the Indycar and Champ Car series.

 

“I have a heavy heart,” Tagliani started off with at the media center. “It’s difficult because every time I step into the truck or the CTCC car or the NASCAR Canada car, we have a sticker on all the cars to remind us. I’m thinking about him.”

 

But with a heavy heart comes with a determined mind. While Tagliani told reporters that it was going to be tough for him to switch between cars throughout the day on Sunday, but with his experience behind the wheel of all of them, he's ready for the challenge. With a last-turn nudge by Regan Smith at Mid-Ohio a few weeks ago taking away a potential milestone victory for the 41-year-old, you can bet that he'll be fast aggressive when the going gets tough on Sunday.

 

He's all right with that.

 

“But believe it or not, racing is relaxation for me,” Tagliani said.


Where will Tagliani finish Sunday?
Top-5
6-10
11-20
21st or worse
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