Glove box slapdown

DAVID CAMERON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

If you are operating a tightly budgeted racing team, you can always use an extra set of just about anything.

Alex Tagliani got an extra pair of gloves at the Toronto Indy.

They came courtesy of an overhand toss by Tomas Scheckter.

The South African was on the wrong-end of a tic-tac-toe collision at Toronto where Tagliani was tic, Mario Moraes was tac and Scheckter was the sore toe.

On the next lap, Scheckter -- still on the track, just out of his car -- dropped the gloves.

"First of all I have to thank him," said Tagliani at Rexall Place yesterday, laughing when asked if he kept the racing mitts.

"His little move there gave us so much press, so much coverage for the sponsor, that he did good for us. So I really appreciate that.

"And I needed a new pair of gloves."

HIGHLIGHT REELS

Tagliani knows that -- rightly or wrongly -- a visual like that is going to make the highlight reels and ratchet up the YouTube hits.

"I got funnelled in. (Scheckter) was a lot to the right and normally you're not supposed to block. I felt he was trying to make it harder than it had to be.

"Honestly, if I was totally in the fault, I would have been penalized.

"In reality I think the series saw that he was trying to make the door too tight ... and maybe that is why, even as I was responsible for touching (cars) I didn't get penalized."

Scheckter's post-incident quotes were pointed directly at the Canadian.

"Such a stupid mistake by Tagliani to just hit me from behind when Moraes has got a broken wing in front. I passed him and then I got a hit from behind. Just un-called for. People racing with no brains."

Tagliani shrugs it off.

Road rage has become an escalating concern on public streets.

In racing, cars bump into each other. In open-wheel racing, it just becomes more instantly damaging without the full fenders of a stock-car that can rub off a lot more banging and crashing. And it's magnified on a tight street course like the one eked out of Toronto's Exhibition Place site.

Tagliani is unlikely to hold a grudge.

"You've seen the P.T. story from San Jose," he said, mentioning the infamous sideline fist-swinger between Tagliani and his old Player's teammate Paul Tracy.

"We're buddies. We're talking. Our wives are very good friends.

"But, c'mon, you're fighting for the same piece of real estate at 200 miles an hour.

"Do you really think things are always going to go smoothly?!"

Unfortunately, that incident -- along with another collision at the Toronto Indy you may have heard about between Tracy and Helio Castroneves -- overshadowed the real story for Tagliani: the No. 34 Rexall Edmonton Indy car was leading the race when a crash caused a yellow that closed the pits (see sidebar).

EXCELLENT MILEAGE

That cycled Tagliani to the back. But the car had displayed its pace and excellent mileage.

Tagliani and the Conquest Racing team hope to carry that onto the City Centre Airport track, but there's no guarantees.

"We hope what we learned coming out of Toronto will help us coming right out of the box," he said of getting the car clicking.

"On a road course, your window of setup is very small. If you are outside that window, the car is shot, it won't go very fast.

"I'd say our challenge to make it an easy transition is for us to come out of the box Friday morning even better than what we did in Toronto.

"If we can come out of the box where we just need to fine-tune our setup, just tweak it, I think we have a much better chance to be on the podium."


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