After a day of highs and lows, Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver Alex Tagliani finished 17th in Sunday’s Edmonton Indy at the Edmonton City Centre Airport in Alberta, Canada.
The Canadian driver and the No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins Honda/Dallara/Firestone car had an eventful day that saw them run as high as second place and as low as 23rd before climbing from his cockpit at the end of a grueling IZOD IndyCar Series race on Edmonton’s 2.256-mile, 13-turn street course.
“We had a lot of things happening, but the team did a good job,” Tagliani told a group of Canadian media after the race. “Unfortunately, our car was horrible on (Firestone) reds in qualifying, and again, it was horrible on reds at the end. We basically were tearing the tires apart at the end. I had no more rear tires. They were down to the chords. We were just going backwards. It’s a shame.”
Starting 17th, Tagliani was in the middle of a lap one skirmish in turn five that resulted in fellow Canadian Paul Tracy and Ganassi Racing’s Graham Rahal being eliminated from the race. Tagliani had to pit after the crash to replace the No. 77’s nose. He also received a drive-through penalty from INDYCAR officials for his role in the crash.
“It was just congestion in turn five,” Tagliani said. “I was on the inside and trying to give as much room to the guys in front, but everyone was turning and I was trying not to touch anyone on the outside. I was looking on the inside when my wing touched Rahal’s inside rear and cut his tire, I guess”
Despite the pit stop for repairs and the penalty, Tagliani did not go a lap down to the leaders. A well-planned pit stop by SSM IndyCar Team Manager Rob Edwards brought Tagliani in again before the rest of the field began first round pit stops. When a yellow came out shortly after the Bowers & Wilkins team’s pit stop on lap 25, Tagliani stayed out and moved to the front as the rest of the field pitted.
Restarting the race in second place when the green came back out on lap 29, Tagliani dropped a few positions before maintaining a strong pace that kept him toward the front of the field. However, when he switched to his last set of tires on a lap 40 pit stop, Tagliani could not keep pace and faded to 17th.
By winning the Edmonton Indy Sunday, Team Penske driver Will Power closed in on Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti in the IZOD Indy Car Series point championship. Franchitti leads Power 388 to 350.
Power’s Penske teammate Helio Castroneves finished second while Franchitti finished third. KV Racing’s Tony Kanann and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Justin Wilson rounded out the top five.
There were two caution periods for a total of eight yellow flag laps. There were six lead changes among five drivers. Power led the most laps with 57. Pole-sitter Takuma Sato, from KV Racing, finished one lap down in 21st.
With ten of the 17 races complete, Tagliani dropped to 13th in the championship standings with 186 points.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series event is the Honda Indy 200 on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on Sunday, August 7. The race broadcast starts at 2 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by Versus.
Date: July 24, 2011
Event: Edmonton Indy (Round 10 of 17)
Series: IZOD IndyCar Series
Location: Edmonton City Centre Airport in Alberta, Canada (2.256-mile street course)
Start/Finish: 17th/17th (Running, completed 80 of 80 laps)
Winner: Will Power of Team Penske