Tagliani makes strong impression Alex Tagliani's performance in his third race in the No. 36 Conquest Racing car (second on a street course) impressed even the veteran open-wheel racing driver.
Tagliani, who registered the best starting position of the season for Conquest Racing (seventh), delivered its best result (fourth) in the Nikon Indy 300 on the 2.795-mile street course. He hopes the results work in his favor as he looks for a full-time ride for 2009.
"I'm very happy with this result for the Conquest team," said Tagliani, who has competed in the event each of the past seven years and led one lap. "Brandon (Fry) and Eric (Zeto) worked so hard on the engineering aspect of the car. They saw potential in Detroit and were very excited with the feedback they received. They were able to take that information and prepare for this race in Australia. I'm pretty sure that the winter will be much sweeter with this good result.
"Coming here and fighting with (Scott) Dixon, the champion of the series, (race winner Ryan) Briscoe with Team Penske, it was a great showing for our team. I think the team finished the season the way we wanted, and now we will continue working over the winter."
Tagliani joined the IndyCar Series team in August at Belle Isle on short notice after Enrique Bernoldi was unable to drive on the twisting street circuit because of an injury suffered during qualifying at Infineon Raceway a week earlier. Team owner Eric Bachelart was pleased with the technical feedback the Canadian immediately provided, which carried over in the interim to the Australian race.
"It was a very difficult season, and since Alex came he really turned things around," Bachelart said. "His drive this weekend has been absolutely fantastic. I've never had somebody with such good feedback as him.
"It's very encouraging for the future, and it's good to enter the off-season with a good result like this."