Tagliani wins NASCAR race, but longs for IndyCars
The sixth race of his NASCAR career was a charm for Alex Tagliani on Saturday, as the versatile driver from Lachenaie, Que., claimed his first stock car victory at the Rexall Edmonton Indy.
Tagliani controlled the 32-lap NASCAR Canadian Tire Series event, with a time of 59:23.678. Scott Steckly (59:25.082) finished second, while Tagliani's teammate Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Que., placed third (59:25.583).
Tagliani credited Steckly for giving the race a clean finish.
"I was trying all kinds of tricks to keep him behind (me)," Tagliani recalled. "Fortunately for us we had the Tide logo on the car so we have to race clean and we definitely did that and came back with no scratches.
"Scott was as very fair driver. He didn't force the issue, he didn't push me or punt me or anything like that so thank you to him."
With three did-not-finishes acting as blemishes on his record this season, Tagliani admitted that his 2008 NASCAR campaign hasn't been an easy one.
"The (races) we finish, we finished fifth, sixth and a win," he said.
"We're only finishing 50 per cent of the races so far, but it's not due to a lack of work or trying from the team. It's just very late preparation.
"We were ready to race open wheel (this weekend in Edmonton) and at the last minute there was no team available, no cars and we have to keep our sponsors happy so we wound up here."
A racer with loads of open-wheel experience, Tagliani spent six years (2000-05) competing in Champ Car. He raced open-wheel once this season, earning a seventh-place finish at Long Beach on April 20. While stock-car racing has grown on him, it's evident that Tagliani's heart still lies with the open-wheel circuit.
"I've been approached by people to get back into open wheel, that's the reality of things," he said in regards to his future.
"I'm hoping that something is going to happen. Not that I don't like NASCAR racing. It's fun to drive and I've been accepted among the drivers. It's a new learning curve for me and I'm spending a lot of time trying to be the best at what I'm doing."
The 35-year-old said that at the Long Beach open-wheel race, he still felt he could compete.
"In Long Beach, starting on the front row and being among the best, with (Will) Power, (Justin) Wilson, and (Oriol) Servia, I thought I had a couple of years still under my belt to show them what I can do here in IndyCar racing.
"I'm definitely keeping my options open for next year," he added. "I think I can still kick butt in open-wheel racing." Canada.com