Frustrated Tagliani makes most of his track time

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 4:20 PM ET

Make no mistake about it, Alex Tagliani is as proud of having the Canadian flag adorn his race car as any native son or daughter who makes a living at 180 m.p.h.

Yet it frustrates the heck out of him that he has to fight harder than most every driver on today's Honda Indy Toronto grid to get to races in his Conquest Racing No. 34 Rexall Edmonton Indy/King Tut Dallara.

Combine that struggle with yesterday's rain-shortened morning practice session and you'll find Tagliani a little on the edgy side.

Maybe that was good because he surprised everybody by making the fast six in qualifying after the first two sessions yesterday.

He ended in the day fifth, which will put him on the inside of Row 3 today.

The state of the economy, though, combined with being Canadian and having a smaller pool of corporate money available, has forced Tagliani's team to run only a part-time schedule this season.

So every moment on the track becomes like finding a gold nugget in your back yard.

"(Yesterday's) practice was a total waste of time," Tagliani said.

The 36-year-old Tagliani has a reputation of pulling out unexpected results and he did that again yesterday in the final qualifying session posting a fast lap of one minute 1:698 seconds.

But he said that having a good record on the Exhibition Place track can't make up for his lack of race seat time.

"Having a little bit of experience on a track is always good but that all goes out the window because we really have little experience in this car," Tagliani said. "We haven't been on a road course since Long Beach (April).

"The other guys may come here with no experience in Toronto but they have been driving their cars all season. It gives them an advantage that washes away any advantage I might have with two podiums and five top-five finishes on this track."

Tagliani, however, said he is concentrating his efforts at getting as much experience and knowledge about the Dallara as he can this weekend to put him in good stead for the next IRL race in Edmonton in two weeks.

GOOD TRACK

That's a track where he won at last season in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and did well at when Champ Car ran there.

"Edmonton has always been a good track for me," Tagliani said. "My confidence level by the time we get to Edmonton should be sky high."


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