Tagliani losing his IndyCar engineer

One of the stars of Indianapolis 500 qualifying is moving to one of the teams that struggled.

Allen McDonald, the engineer of Alex Tagliani’s pole-winning effort, is returning to Andretti Autosport, which failed to get two of its four full-season programs in the race.

McDonald engineered Dario Franchitti’s 2007-winning effort on the team now owned by Michael Andretti, but this move angered Sam Schmidt, the team owner of Tagliani’s car.

Schmidt said it was a case of a team with funding robbing talent from a smaller team. Andretti said McDonald wanted to return. Both teams are based in Indianapolis.

Andretti’s team failed to qualify the cars of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway for the 500. Hunter-Reay was moved to A.J. Foyt Racing for the race.

Schmidt denied a rumor that Tagliani’s program is in danger of falling apart. He said funding is in place at least through the July 24 race in Edmonton, and he hopes to keep it a full-season program.

“It’s stable," he said of the program.

Schmidt also said his team, Sam Schmidt Motorsports, plans to expand in July. It will field the No. 99 car that Townsend Bell drove in the 500 with a driver (or drivers) to be named later. Schmidt said he has talked to former Champ Car World Series driver Katherine Legge about the ride, but they are not close to a deal. Indy Star

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