Texas Friday Updates – 2

Alex Tagliani may be on pole but these girls were better eye candy
Tim Wohlford/AR1.com

Alex Tagliani, freshly rescued from Lotus hell, scored his first pole of the season, his second consecutive pole at Texas Motor Speedway.

Tagliani lead a 4-car Honda sweep of qualifications, winning 6 of the top 10 spots. There is no doubt that the Honda cars have a horsepower edge, not only at full boost on the street circuit of Detroit, but also the super ovals of Indy and Texas. (See related feature article)

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The owners weren't the only ones meeting at Detroit. As it turns out, the drivers also met, and in the meeting, voted unanimously for less downforce in the cars. At Texas, they got it — and the drivers are talking about how much harder the cars are to drive.

And mind you, they like it this way. Second place qualifier Graham Rahal compared driving the high-banked Texas oval to driving, of all places, the flat oval of Milwaukee. The drivers are saying that speeds will drop off drastically over the course of a pit cycle, that the cars move around a lot more, and that the drivers are much more involved than in the past. Graham said that he'd be tired on Sunday morning after the race.

Oh, and they are saying, the LOVE it this way. And they believe that we won't see the pack racing we've seen in the past few high-banked "NASCAR" ovals. And that's the part they really love. "You somewhat control your own destiny" in the words of Graham Rahal.

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The drivers also are saying that the slingshot passing seen at Indy won't be a factor at Texas. For one thing, the front stretch here is much shorter, and has this funny kink in the middle. However, the aero package being run here, combine with the fall-off anticipated in the tires, will negate this for much of the race.

Graham Rahal ended up his press conference by saying, "At Indy we weren't hanging on like we are here. Quite frankly, maybe Indy next year they need to take this sort of formula and take it there, where you're limited to how much downforce you can run…. Indy was a great show, for sure, but if all things go the way I think they will, I think tomorrow could go even better."

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Tim Wohlford, reporting from Texas

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