Tags likes driving in circles

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:04 PM ET

Alex Tagliani's sudden success on the oval circuits of the IZOD IndyCar Series has taken many in the racing community by surprise.

After all Tagliani grew up racing on road and street courses in his native Quebec -- from Karts up to the Atlantic Series.

But Tagliani said he isn't surprised at all at being able to compete with the best in the world on ovals.

"People forget that my first race in Champ Car for the Player's team was at Homestead Miami Speedway, an oval, where I qualified fourth," Tagliani said Wednesday. "On the second oval of the year, in Brazil, I put the car on the pole. I also have won the pole in California at Fontana and the Milwaukee Mile.

"So it is not like I woke up yesterday and all of a sudden got good on ovals."

His biggest oval result, of course, came this year at the world's most famous oval race, the Indianapolis 500, where he put the No. 77 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara Honda on the pole.

This week Tagliani heads to another oval, the Milwaukee Mile, where he will race in the IndyCar Milwaukee 225. Expect good things from him there as well as he has had top-five finishes and two top-10 starting spots, including a CART pole in 2003 at the Wisconsin short oval.

"I've been pretty strong there in the past," he said. "Every time I've been there we've run up front. Hopefully, we'll have a good car at Milwaukee this year like we've had at Indy and Texas. "

From there the IndyCar series goes to another short oval, the .75 mile Iowa Speedway.

"We'll have two short ovals back-to-back with Milwaukee and Iowa, and I see that as a good opportunity for me to make up ground for the championship." he said.


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