|The new Edmonton track layout|
Mention the new IndyCar circuit at Edmonton City Centre Airport and Alex Tagliani gets all revved up.
"I think this configuration is going to be amazing," says the 38-year-old driver who last week became the first Canadian to win the pole at the Indy 500. "I think it's going to be the future configuration for race courses for our sport."
What Tagliani absolutely loves about the layout that will play host to the IndyCar crowd on July 22-24 are three mile-long straightaways . . . right in front of the crowd.
"Open wheel racing with wings is very unique," he explained. "You need long straightaways for people to draft and do a lot of braking to be able to pass. Having the track built in a way where people in the grandstand are going to have a visual of three different opportunities for that is very unique.
"When you sit in the grandstand in Edmonton, you'll see crazy speed and amazing action."
Tagliani made a pit stop in Calgary on Tuesday to help bang the drums for the Edmonton Indy. It was just two days after he won that historic pole position at The Brickyard, only to have his race end on lap 147 when he brushed the wall in Corner 4.
His No. 77 Honda ran into an overheating problem early in the race and his crew couldn't get things sorted out. It went from bad to worse, in fact.
"The guys worked on the car, ripped out some parts trying to cool it down. It didn't work . . . we were losing speed. Unfortunately at the end we were trying all kinds of things on the balance of the car and it was getting pretty loose . . . then I tapped the wall (lap 147). Not too much damage, just enough not to continue," he said.
"It was a shame because the first 100 laps we were very competitive, running up front and probably had the car to beat. But it's an endurance race and everything needs to be in place for you to make it. The stars were not lined up for us that day."
The engine has been sent back to Honda to see if it can figure out what caused the overheating issue, which probably will be a minor detail when all is said and done.
At least Tagliani, who's now driven in more than 160 major league events, can't see it slowing the team down.
"I'm confident the team is going to come back on top again shortly," he said. "Maybe we can even sweep the two Canadian races (Toronto and Edmonton) . . . that would be amazing.
"We're on a good path, ninth in points. Our goal is to try and show up in Canada in the top five or even the top three and show that our team is really strong."
Tickets for the Edmonton Indy are on sale now with prices ranging from $25 for a single day admission up to $230 for a three pass. Call 1-855350-4639 or go online to www. edmontonindy.com.