Conquest Racing’s Alex Tagliani Top Rookie in Indy Conquest Racing and Alex Tagliani, who returned to rookie status this month due to making his first appearance at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, posted the best finish by a rookie today at the 2009 Indianapolis 500 on the strength of a solid performance by the driver of the #36 ALL SPORT/BIG RED car and his crew. The 11th place finish was also Conquest’s best result at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
In addition to the top rookie finish, Tagliani was the driver who moved up the most positions throughout the race, gaining 22 spots from his 33rd place on the grid. The Canadian driver battled it out on-track but was also assisted by the excellent work of his Conquest crew who helped him gain valuable positions throughout the race during his pit stops.
Tagliani immediately gained a couple of positions on the first lap when Mario Moraes and Marco Andretti were involved in a turn 1 crash. From then on Tag continuously made his way up through the field and was 23rd by the time he had completed his second pit stop on lap 24, making up six positions on that second stop alone. The Indy rookie soldiered on and by the half way mark had made his way up to 14th.
During the second half of the race Tagliani averaged an 11th place, running as high as 10th and fighting to maintain his position with the likes of Dario Franchitti, Vitor Meira, Hideki Mutoh and Danica Patrick. With 20 laps to go, the driver of the Dallara, which featured partnerships with the Rexall Edmonton Indy and the King Tut Exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, was in 11th position, where he stayed up until the checkered flag fell on his first Indianapolis 500 mile race.
11th – Alex Tagliani #36 ALL SPORT/BIG RED, highest finishing rookie
“The day started when I walked into Gasoline Alley and saw the grandstands. It was my first time here on race day and it was quite unbelievable. I’m very, very happy that I had a chance to participate in this race. Our day was pretty simple, we just tried to make no mistakes and stay out of trouble and continue to make up ground toward the front. We also tried not to make any mistakes in the pits and that’s exactly what we did. The team did a fantastic job and they did really great on the pit stops. Slowly but surely we made our way to the front. We kept leapfrogging other drivers so we got ourselves into P11. It was a really great job and a team effort. I’m very happy for All Sport, Big Red, Rexall Edmonton Indy, King Tut and everybody that helped us this month. To finish this month in front of all of these people is what it’s all about.”
Eric Bachelart, Conquest Team Owner
“The team did an awesome job today. Alex drove a great race and the guys did excellent work on the pit stops. It was a real team effort today and I am so proud of everyone. It’s been a long month with ups and downs but we couldn’t finish on a better high. We’re happy we were able to put on a good show for our partners ALL SPORT and BIG RED, the Rexall Edmonton Indy, the King Tut Exhibit, TDS and everyone else that has supported us through the month.”