TAGLIANI CAPTURES SECOND KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC VICTORY AFTER LEADING ENTIRE DISTANCE TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. (August 3) - Alexandre Tagliani, of Lachenaie, Que., won his second career KOOL/TOYOTA ...
TAGLIANI CAPTURES SECOND KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC VICTORY AFTER LEADING ENTIRE DISTANCE
TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. (August 3) - Alexandre Tagliani, of Lachenaie, Que., won his second career KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship race Sunday on the 1.506-mile Trois-Rivieres street circuit. Joao Barbosa, of Valongo, Portugal, finished second followed by Alex Barron, of Vista, Calif. Tagliani led the entire 67.95-mile Atlantic contest that ended under yellow after Bob Thomas, of Clarkston, Mich., experienced mechanical problems and dropped oil on the track, bringing out the third caution of the day. "This was a team result," said Tagliani. "The crew worked so hard and we had so many small mechanical problems. They worked all night and all weekend to resolve the problems. We started the race with another battery to make sure we would be able to finish the 50 laps. The brake problems I had during the race were helped by the caution periods. With all the oil at the end, the track was very slippery and very dangerous. The yellow hurt me in Toronto but helped me today." Tagliani, who had captured the pole with a speed of 87.027 mph, led the field into turn one, followed closely by his Player's/Indeck teammate, Bertrand Godin, of St. Hyacinthe, Que. The racing behind them was fierce with Anthony Lazzaro, of Acworth, Ga., moving from sixth to third in the opening lap. Barron passed his Lynx racing teammate, Memo Gidley, of San Rafael, Calif., for fourth and challenged Lazzaro for third before taking the spot on lap four. Barron and Godin engaged in a heated battle that allowed Tagliani to extend his lead. Barron was able to pass Godin for second on the inside while entering turn one on lap eight. Barron then began to chase down the leader. Barbosa moved up steadily from his seventh starting spot to third place after passing Lazzaro on lap nine. The race was slowed on lap 10 after Jeret Schroeder spun and hit the outside wall on the back straightaway. He was uninjured. When racing resumed on lap 16, Barbosa began to pressure Barron for second. David Cutler, of Medina, Wash., made left front wheel contact with George Frazier, of Prospect, Ky., while attempting to maintain the inside line through turn one. Both drivers spun across the track, forcing Michael David, of Corona, Calif., and Mark Tague, of Laguna Hills, Calif., to take evasive action. David made light contact with the rear of Tague's car. Both drivers stopped on course. David and Tague were able to rejoin the race but Cutler and Frazier were forced to retire. Tagliani maintained his lead on the lap 23 restart, but Barbosa began to apply heavy pressure to Barron for second. Lazzaro and Kenny Wilden, of Burlington, Ont., battled for fourth position. Wilden was unable to continue the battle as his brakes began to fail. Gidley passed him on lap 38 as his brake woes continued. Thomas' car erupted in flames on lap 38 as he began to leak oil as he crossed the start-finish line. He put down a heavy oil trail between turns two and three, giving Barbosa the opportunity he needed to pass Barron in the oil-soaked track. "When I saw Barron try the inside on top of the oil, I couldn't believe it. I took the outside line and passed him. I knew the yellow would show up sooner or later and that helped me a lot." Caution flew on lap 39 and the timed race ended under caution. Tagliani led Barbosa and Barron to the checkered flag. Lazzaro and Gidley trailed them. Tagliani took home $20,000 of the $85,000 posted purse and was awarded a $1,000 bonus for winning the "KOOL Move of the Race" and $1,000 for winning the "Yokohama Now You've Got Control." Barbosa earned the $1,000 "KOOL Rookie Challenge" award. Barron won the "MCI Fast Pace Award" for running the quickest laps of the race with a speed of 86.068 mph. Barron continues to lead the point battle with 100. Gidley lost ground, but maintains second with 91 pointsTagliani moves up to third with 88, Godin drops to fourth with 82. Case Montgomery, of Salinas Calif., drops to fifth with 75. Joaquin DeSoto, of Miami, Fla., was the race winner in the C2 class. He continues to lead the C2 class standing 125-72 over James Irvin, of South Miami, Fla. ESPN2 will broadcast the Player's Challenge for the KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship, Saturday, August 9, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
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