First Champ Car World Series Win for Alex Tagliani ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 8, 2004) -- Alex Tagliani, driver of the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola claimed his first Champ Car World Series career win today at the Grand Prix of Road America...
First Champ Car World Series Win for Alex Tagliani
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 8, 2004) -- Alex Tagliani, driver of the No.8 Johnson Controls Lola claimed his first Champ Car World Series career win today at the Grand Prix of Road America presented by the Chicago Tribune. The Rocketsports driver has been racing Champ Cars for five years and made his 85th race start from 13th position on the grid this afternoon at Road America, a circuit he claims is a favorite -- and for good reason. Tagliani has been very successful at the Wisconsin track, earning a trio of top-three starting positions and three visits to the podium in five starts. Today, Tagliani took center-stage and claimed his first career victory on the 4.048 mile road course, set in the heartland of America.
"The team worked so hard for this," said Tagliani. "They had to repair the car all day Friday and then gearbox troubles put us in 13th in qualifying. We worked to put a good car together for the race and this was really our only trouble-free day. The crew gave me some awesome pit stops and got me out their quickly to keep me ahead of the grid. I had the Cosworth power to stay up front and held on to my position. The crew and Paul guided me with the strategy. When I came in I saw in their faces that they believed I could do it and it was very encouraging. This win is for them and it was only possible with good teamwork.
"To win races you need a fast car, good strategy and a bit of luck," explained Tagliani. "Today we had all the ingredients and it worked for us. The Bridgestone tires worked just as I needed them to at every turn and everything came together for us." And come together it did for Tagliani, who charged his way to the front of the pack, employed clever pitting strategies, and 'stepped on it' passed the finish line in the time-shortened 48 lap race.
"Paul (Gentilozzi) has high expectations of the team and makes us believe we can do it (win). He encourages us to push hard, grow from our experiences and be consistent. We're a young team and trying to be consistent. I'm proud of Rocketsports and happy for Johnson Controls, who has been a strong supporter of Rocketsports for many years and two of those with Champ Car.
"I've been close to winning so many times and have had some bad luck in the past. This track, in particular, (Road America) owes me. In 2000 I led many laps, but lost it when the gear shaft broke. I'm glad my first win came here with Johnson Controls, Futaba and Microchip guests to share it." Very appreciatively, Tagliani added, "Saputo has also been a tremendous support throughout my career. They've been waiting for this win with me from the start, so this goes out to them as well."
Tagliani earned 33 race points for a total of 153. He is currently third in the Champ Car World Series season ranking. The intense 31 year-old French-Canadian claims a total of ten podium finishes, 18 top-five and 46 top-ten career finishes. Hoping to build on the success and consistency of the team, Tagliani looks forward to Round Nine of the Champ Car World Series, the Grand Prix of Denver August 15, 2004.