Tagliani aboard his personal 250cc kart he uses to train during the off-season
Conquest Racing driver Alex Tagliani is keeping busy during the off-season. The driver, who resides in Las Vegas and who enjoys driving karts to train between racing seasons, took part in a 7–hour endurance karting race at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas this past weekend. Driving for Team Gatorz, Tagliani and his teammates, former fellow Atlantic graduate and current Grand-Am driver Joey Hand and Kerry Lynch, owner of Gatorz sunglasses, took third in the event that was held in conjunction with the SKUSA SuperNationals.
Right off the bat the team showed their competitiveness, qualifying second. Tagliani was first up behind the wheel in the Le Mans-style start. By the time he ended his stint, the driver, who finished fourth at the IndyCar Series race in Surfers Paradise last month, had gained a 30-second advantage on the field. Hand then increased Team Gatorz’ lead to about 40 seconds before encountering problems with the accelerator. The team lost time having to change karts and returned to the track two laps behind the leaders with about 3 hours left in the race.
Despite the troubles they faced, the duo continued to soldier on. When Hand completed his turn aboard the kart he had made up one and a half laps. Tagliani then took over the driving duties for the final stint of the 500-lap race. The French-Canadian not only made his way back on the lead lap, he also lapped the field to gain a one-lap advantage on everyone.
With the race winding down, it looked like Tagliani had control of the lead and was heading for victory circle. Unfortunately it wasn’t going to be, as the open-wheel driver ran out of fuel with about 12 minutes left in the race. But once again, Tagliani didn’t give up, pushing his kart back to the pits. With ten minutes left to go, he returned to the on-track action. Tag pushed as hard as he could, not really aware of where he stood in the field. He crossed the finish line in third.
“Karting is something I always held dear to my heart and that I enjoy doing to keep myself in good racing condition during the off-season,” expressed Tagliani. “When Kerry Lynch, the owner of Gatorz sunglasses, one of my personal sponsors, asked me if I wanted to do this, I immediately accepted. I had a blast, it was a lot of fun. It was a little crazy at the end when I started pushing the kart back to the pits. When I went back out I had no clue what position we were in but I just kept on pushing and pushing. I was really happy when I crossed the finish line in third, I didn’t think we had made it that far up.”
Tagliani also registered the fastest lap around the .6-mile temporary track in the parking lot of the Rio Hotel, the same track used for the SKUSA SuperNationals.
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