Tags ... you’re it

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:21 AM ET

TORONTO - There must be days when Alex Tagliani can’t figure out if he’s a salesman or a race car driver. And this week, particularly, the affable native of the Montreal suburb of Lachenaie, is all salesman, pushing hard to satisfy the demands of his many sponsors as he prepares for the second half of the IZOD IndyCar 2010 schedule.

“I blame these guys,” Tagliani says mockingly as he gestures toward public relations gurus Daniel Torchia and Kathleen Stemblach, who guide him through the dozen or more public appearances he made Tuesday in Toronto. “They control me.”

All joking aside, Tagliani knows that without the non-stop promotional events that take ever more hours of his day, there is no racing for his FAZZT Racing team.

It is one of the reasons he and his wife Bronte packed up their Las Vegas home and moved to Indianapolis this past May.

It had nothing to do with the view because as the natives of Indiana will themselves often admit, there isn’t much of a view from anywhere in the Hoosier state.

“Our race shop is in Indianapolis and I was spending most of my days and nights on the phone,” Tagliani said of trying to coordinate his time between taking care of family obligations and team obligations.

“By living in Indy I can have a half-ways normal job. I deal with racing at the shop and when I get home it’s family time.”

And at 37-years-old, Tags as he is known to friends and fans, says it is his family life that is becoming increasingly more important.

He yearns for that big win in Canada, however, and if that means criss-crossing the continent telling anyone who will listen how great his Bowers & Wilkins electronic entertainment products perform or what a great deal three-day passes for the Honda Indy Edmonton will be, so be it.

Oh, yeah, and he loves both the Toronto and Edmonton tracks.

“For those races I arrive a few days early and stay a few days after,” he said. “Because I love both cities and like spending time there.”

Pit stops

The IZOD IndyCar Series is trying to stir the cross-border pot a little by promoting its “Team Canada” duo of Tagliani and Paul Tracy in upcoming races in Toronto and Edmonton. But in a case of too little, too late, IndyCar folks were trumped this week with the announcement from the JR Motorsports team that it will employ three — Ron Fellows, J.R. Fitzpatrick and Steve Arpin — Canadians this season. In fact Fellows and Fitzpatrick will race each other in different JRM Chevrolets Saturday at Road America in Wisconsin, next month in Watkins Glen, N.Y. and in August in Montreal in the NASCAR Nationwide series.

Finish lines

Does anyone else think there is a great divide between Joe Gibbs’ constant pushing of his strong Christian beliefs and the on-track behaviour of his three NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers? Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano all spout unprintable nasty things over the team radio and behave like spoiled brats when they don’t get their own way. ... Speaking of Logano, Gibbs denies that he has banned Joey’s dad Tom Logano from the Sprint Cup team’s paddock area after he got into shoving match with a TV reporter two weeks ago at Pocono. But the senior Logano was conspicuous by his absence Sunday at Michigan. A Gibbs spokesman, however, said Tom Logano juts decided it would be best to stay away for a few weeks.


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