Crash has Tagliani ticked

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:50 PM ET

FAZZT Racing team owner Andre Azzi wants the IZOD IndyCar Series to launch an immediate investigation into what he called Tomas Sheckter’s “deliberate” crashing of Alex Tagliani’s No.77 Hot Wheels Dallara on Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto.

And Tagliani charged that Scheckter admitted that punting him going into Turn one with 12 laps to go was a “pay back” for an incident in Toronto last season when the two were also involved in a crash.

The two drivers were fighting for eighth place coming down front straightaway when Scheckter appeared to move into Tagliani as they prepared to enter Turn 1.

The result was that Tagliani’s car went off into the tire barrier and stalled. By the time race marshals got him re-started, Tagliani was a lap down and his race was effectively over.

“We will review what happened as a team and we will take it to (IndyCar) and asked them to come down hard on (Scheckter),” Azzi said in the team’s pit area after the race.

Scheckter has compiled a lengthy list of careless driving incidents in his IndyCar career.

Azzi said that he knew little of Scheckter’s past exploits, because he has only seen him race in three IndyCar events this season.

“I don’t know about his reputation. But if he didn’t have one before, he has one now,” he said. “Alex is racing, risking his life and (Scheckter) pulls something like that. I know one thing he will never be on my team.”

Tagliani was livid when he finally drove his race car into Pit Lane at the end of the race. He immediately made a bee line for Scheckter’s pit area along the start-finish line and confronted the 30-year-old South African.

“He told me he did it on purpose,” Tagliani said. “That’s not the way we should race. Saying out loud: ‘I did it on purpose to give you a payback’ from a guy who doesn’t do the (whole) season should have serious, serious repercussions.”

The 38-year-old native of the Montreal suburb of Lachenai said he was shocked when Scheckter came right out and admitted that the hit was on purpose.

“He just told me: ‘Now we are equal from last year, *#@# you,’ ” Tagliani said of the exchange between the pair. “He told me he had no intention of finishing the race.”

In the 2009 Honda Indy Toronto race Tagliani was making his way to the front when he came up on Scheckter’s slower car. The Canadian followed Scheckter for a full lap and when he didn’t put over, Tagliani pushed into him, sending him into the wall.

That, claimed Tagliani, was what Sunday’s incident was all about.

“He doesn’t care about points; he’s not in the championship,” Tagliani said. “He was just giving me the payback, that’s all.

“And that’s bull(crap). For a guy who doesn’t even race in the series, for him to pull a banzai move like that is (crap).”

Scheckter told reporters later that, yes, he remembered what happened last year in Toronto, but that he didn’t hit Tagliani intentionally on Sunday.

IndyCar officials said that they will wait to hear for Azzi, but that race stewards reviewed the incident and decided no penalty was forthcoming.

dean.mcnulty@sunmedia.ca


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