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After Texas
Rank Driver Points

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2 Simon Pagenaud 313
3 Takuma Sato 312
4 Helio Castroneves 305
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6 Graham Rahal 283
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33 Zach Veach 23
34 Sage Karam 23
37 James Davison 21
38 Jack Harvey 17
39 Tristan Vautier 15
42 Buddy Lazier 14

Rookie of Year Standings
1. Ed Jones 228
2. Fernando Alonso 47
3. Zach Veach 23
4. Jack Harvey 17
5. Esteban Gutierrez 11
Tagliani and Bell get ready to take off at Surfers

IndyCar
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

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Alex Tagliani and Townsend Bell aboard the Q1 Flight Experience
Just Dave Photography
IndyCar Series drivers Alex Tagliani and Townsend Bell prepared themselves for take off at this week’s Nikon Indy 300 by taking in the Q1 Flight Experience in Surfers Paradise this afternoon.

Tagliani, who is a two-time podium finisher at the Gold Coast Event, was thrilled with the experience of piloting the 747 simulator through the sky.

“I played some video games which made out like they were flying simulators before but this thing here at the Q1 Flight Experience was just like the real thing, it was amazing,” said Tagliani.

“You had to do all of the pre-take off checks, watch all of your angles and make sure that you focused 100% of the time you were in there air, it certainly gave me a new appreciation for being a pilot.

“It’s a lot different than driving an IndyCar, in the air you don’t have a real good perception of how fast you are going as there is nothing but sky around you, however, in an IndyCar it’s a lot different – especially around a track like the Gold Coast.”

Tagliani will make his ninth start in the Nikon Indy 300 and believes this year’s event should be one of the toughest and hardest fought for many years.

“With the Event not being a championship race this year it means there will be no-one just conserving for points, every driver will be out there to win and do whatever they can to stand on top of the podium,” said Tagliani, who drives the #36 entry for the Conquest Racing team.

“I’ve finished on the podium twice and finished fourth as well so it would mean a lot to me if I could win this race. With my wife, Bronte, coming from Australia this is like my second home race – so I’d love to win it.”

Like his IndyCar Series counterpart, Bell also enjoyed his time behind the controls of a 747 at the Q1 Flight Experience, however, the Californian driver did have a slight head start with his knowledge of aircraft.

“My brother and Dad are both pilots, so even though I feel a lot more comfortable behind the wheel of my IndyCar than I do in control of a plane flying is in my blood,” said Bell, who is making his Gold Coast debut this weekend.

“Flying the simulator was pretty cool, it was made even more special when I was able to land in my home city of Los Angeles.”

Bell, who is making his Gold Coast debut this weekend aboard the #23 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing entry, simply can’t wait to get out onto the 4.47km circuit.

“I came here for a holiday when the race was on in 2001 but didn’t race and after going for a run around the circuit this morning I’m really looking forward to getting out there,” said Bell.

“I’ve spent a fair bit of time on the Playstation learning about where the track goes but until I get out there on Friday I really don’t think I know what to expect – apart from the fact that it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

With 96 hours of non-stop excitement over October 23-26 as the Gold Coast comes alive to the sound of the IndyCar Series burning up the track and Australia’s own V8 Supercars scorching around one of the most famous beach-side cities in the world, the event is the hottest ticket in town.

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