By Tagliani/Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Alex Tagliani Canadian Looking To Return to Fast Crowd
In reference to no specific IZOD IndyCar Series driver, Alex Tagliani is looking to change the crowd he hangs with during the Iowa Corn Indy 250 Saturday night at Iowa Speedway in Newton.
Last weekend, Tagliani didn’t like the company he was keeping in Milwaukee. He wasn’t running with the cool crowd, so to speak, and he didn’t like that. In practice, in qualifying and in the race, Tagliani didn’t fit in. He loves the fast crowd.
Sitting in the top-10 in the IndyCar Series points chase and having won two poles this year, including the prestigious Indy 500 pole, Tagliani is used to hanging with the fast crowd in 2011.
The driver knows that the best way to fit in with the fast crowd is to bring a hot rod to the party, and that’s what the Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) crew will be taking to Iowa Speedway for Tagliani. The No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins Dallara/Honda/Firestone racecar “Tag” will drive in Sunday’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 is the same car he put on the pole of the 2011 Indy 500 with an average speed of 227.472 mph. He led 20 laps of the 500 with the car.
The Iowa car is also the same one with which Tagliani blistered the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway with a lap of 215.186 mph to claim the pole for the Firestone Twin 275s.
Though the Iowa Speedway .875-mile oval is the shortest on the 2011 schedule, it is a fast track. Its 12- to 14-degree banking in the corners allows for speeds in excess of 180 mph by the IndyCar Series cars.
When the green flag falls Saturday night for the Iowa Corn Indy 250, expect to see Tagliani hanging with the cool kids because he’ll be driving his hot rod to the party.
Alex Tagliani, Driver of the No. 77 B&W Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Sam Schmidt Motorsports:
You’ve raced at Iowa Speedway just once. What are your thoughts on the track?
“Iowa is a track I like very much. We were competitive there last year. We are very excited about going back there this week. I can’t wait because I’ll be back in my normal oval car. I think we have all the chance in the world to be really strong.”
Admittedly, you had a poor performance at Milwaukee last weekend, but you’ve said you are looking forward to going to Iowa. The track there is another short oval like Milwaukee, so why are you looking forward to Iowa so much?
“They’re both short ovals, but the comparison really ends there. Iowa is more banked, so you need more speed out of the car, which is what our normal oval car has. I can’t tell you how much I’m ready to get back to Iowa, especially after the weekend we had at Milwaukee. You just can’t wait to get back on the track when you know something is going to be fast and you can put a bad weekend behind you. It’s a track that demands a lot of speed, and we have it with this car we’ll be using this weekend. It’s going to be a race that will allow us to put Milwaukee behind us.”
Rob Edwards, Team Manager of the No. 77 B&W Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Sam Schmidt Motorsports:
Iowa and Milwaukee both fall in the category of short ovals, but they are very different. How do you prepare for Iowa compared to Milwaukee?
“In our particular case, being a new team in 2010, we hadn’t been to Milwaukee as a team before this year, so we were starting with ‘new team syndrome’ there. But going back to Iowa, we had a good car there last year. We qualified well. We missed a couple of things in the race, but we know what we missed, so we’ve got a good handle there. Nick Snyder, who joined us now to engineer the car, was on the winning car last year at Iowa. We feel pretty good going to Iowa. Obviously, don’t count you chickens before they hatch, but we’re looking forward to getting back on the track and back up toward the front in Iowa this weekend.”