Tagliani says he’s not joining Chip Ganassi Racing

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We can rule out Alex Tagliani as a potential newcomer to Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2014 IndyCar Series.

The French-Canadian driver, who replaced Dario Franchitti in this year’s season finale and tested Ganassi’s No. 10 Chevrolet recently in Florida, has confirmed that he would not be joining the powerhouse outfit.

However, Tagliani felt that his brief time with Ganassi can prove beneficial down the road in regards to landing a ride.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” he said according to Autoweek. “When you’re with another team, the Ganassi boys thought they could see what I could do, but spending time with them they got to see for sure what I can do.

“That will help me from now on because they will tell other people what they saw of me.”

With Tagliani out of the picture, it would now appear that Ryan Briscoe is the odds-on favorite to join reigning series champion Scott Dixon, Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball in the Ganassi camp.

Briscoe was slated to go full-time at Panther Racing next year, but with the team’s sponsorship situation yet to be determined, the Australian has been looking elsewhere. Now, barring a major curveball thrown, it appears that he’ll be suiting up for the team that gave him his start in the IndyCars back in 2005.

If that proves to be the case, Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star reports he will take over the No. 8 NTT Data entry that he drove in this year’s Indianapolis 500 and Kanaan will move over to the No. 10 to replace the retired Franchitti.

But all should be officially confirmed Friday morning at TCGR’s press conference in Indianapolis.

MRTI: Saturday Barber Notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Both the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires completed their first races of the weekend on Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park.

Indy Lights saw a pair of teammates battle for the win, while a series veteran suffered first lap trouble for the second race in a row.

In Pro Mazda, things were much more straightforward, as a title contender ran away to a dominant win from the pole.

Reports on both series are below.

Indy Lights: O’Ward Withstands Herta Challenge for Race 1 Victory

Lap 1 told the tale for Indy Lights Race 1, as Colton Herta led from the pole, but Pato O’Ward was able to sneak by on the inside entering Turn 5.

O’Ward subsequently had to withstand a race-long challenge from Herta, who kept the gap at less than one second between the two Andretti Autosport affiliated drivers – Herta races under the Andretti Steinbrenner Racing banner – for most of the 30-lap race. But, O’Ward kept Herta at bay to take the win by one-and-a-half seconds at the checkered flag.

This is also O’Ward’s second win in three races in the 2018 season.

Belardi Auto Racing’s Santi Urrutia finished third, followed by Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni, and Ryan Norman finished fifth to put three Andretti Autosport affiliated drivers in the Top 5.

Meanwhile, Belardi’s Aaron Telitz endured a second consecutive race in which he failed to complete a lap, after he was collected in a Lap 1, Turn 2 spin with Dalton Kellett. Kellett, who spun on his own, was able to continue despite the contact, but Telitz suffered damage to the right-front suspension, forcing him to retire without completing a lap for the second race in a row.

Results are below. Race 2 rolls off at 1:00 p.m. ET.

 

Pro Mazda: Thompson Roles to Dominant Race 1 Victory

Exclusive Autosport’s Parker Thompson dominated Race 1, leading all 25 laps from the pole on his way to victory. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Race 1 for Pro Mazda was hardly ever in doubt. Polesitter Parker Thompson, who soared to pole with a track record in qualifying, led right from the drop of the green flag to lead all 25 laps on his way to winning Race 1.

Thompson had to withstand a brief challenge from RP Motorsport’s Harrison Scott on a Lap 4 restart – a caution was flown for debris on the front straightaway on Lap 2 – but Thompson immediately began gapping the field again, and the Exclusive Autosport driver won by over five seconds.

Scott came home in second, while BN Racing’s David Malukas, Team Pelfrey’s Andres Gutierrez, and Juncos Racing’s Rinus VeeKay battled for third, with Malukas holding off Gutierrez and VeeKay to take the final spot on the podium.

Results are below. Pro Mazda Race 2 rolls off at 10:50 a.m. ET on Sunday.

 

Check back later for driver quotes.

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