May 26, 2011
Tagliani no fan of double-file restarts
By DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency
INDIANAPOLIS - Alex Tagliani will get one more hour of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5 mile oval on Friday before he takes his place on the pole Sunday for the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500.
The only Canadian ever to start on the inside of the front row at the biggest oval race on the planet said Thursday he will treat it like any other practice day at the track.
“We’ll just prepare the car the way the engineers want to prepare it for the race and go out there for a couple of runs on full tanks of fuel,” he said.
Tagliani said it’s important to test the car on a full load, as for most of the past month at Indianapolis his Sam Schmidt Motorsports team has concentrated on qualifying, something that worked out very well.
“We’ll try a couple of changes to see how the car reacts, and continue to get a good feel for it with the tires cold,” he said. “We want to follow a couple of cars in traffic. And then park it and be ready to go on Sunday.”
Tagliani isn’t about to go out and try anything radical. He wants to bring the car back to the garage in one piece, but he will test the car’s limits.
“You can push it,” he said. “But you have to be sensible and you have to make sure everything is right. But, most importantly, you have to try and feel the balance and make sure the car is good behind turbulence.”
What Tagliani is most worried about is the double-file restarts the IZOD IndyCar series adopted this year.
“It’s definitely a worry,” he said. “In a race like the 500, double-file restarts can potentially change the outcome of the race, so you have to think about it.”
There has been some talk IndyCar boss Randy Bernard might do away with the NASCAR-like restarts for the Indy 500, but it has not been confirmed.
“I know there is some speculation that we might not do them, or there are going to be some changes,” Tagliani said. “So, until we know for sure, I’m not going to pay too much attention to it. But, obviously, I would prefer the single-file restarts.”