TUSC: Tagliani, Daly join RSR PC class lineup

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IndyCar drivers Alex Tagliani and Conor Daly are among the driver lineup for Paul Gentilozzi’s RSR Racing team for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and additional TUDOR United SportsCar Championship races in the PC class.

Tagliani, who was mooted as a potential replacement at Target Chip Ganassi Racing for the retiring Dario Franchitti, is set for a full season in the No. 09 Automax.com entry with fellow Canadian Chris Cumming alongside. Daly and Rusty Mitchell will join for selected endurance races, beginning with the Rolex 24 next week.

The sister No. 08 Lino’spresso car will feature Bruno Junqueira and Duncan Ende for the season, and David Heinemeier Hansson and Gustavo Menezes alongside at the endurance races.

Tagliani has driven for RSR before in Champ Car (2003-2004, 2007) and looked forward to reuniting with some familiar faces.

“I am excited to work with so many familiar faces like Jeff Lohman, Paul, Bruno, Conor, and John and to participate at the Daytona 24 hour race with a competitive team and line-up.

“I’ve already been on contact with Bruno via email. We are good friends and I look forward to working with him again and hopefully we can have a good result for the team.”

Added Daly on his opportunity, “I’m very excited to be headed to Daytona for the first time. I appreciate the opportunity RSR Racing has given me and look forward to working with the team. It will be a whole new experience for me and I’m ready to work with the team to learn from the guys around me to get up to speed quickly.”

At this point, neither Tagliani or Daly has a full-time IndyCar ride. Still, both are working to see what future opportunities may exist there this year.  The TUDOR Championship’s two races on IndyCar weekends, Long Beach and Detroit, do not feature the PC class. Other weekend conflicts include June 7 (TUSC at Kansas, IndyCar at Texas) and August 24 (TUSC at VIR, IndyCar at Sonoma).

IndyCar: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports expands mentoring program for tech school students

Photos: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
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IndyCar team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced today that it is extending and widening a unique sponsorship and mentoring program that began last season with students from Lincoln Technical Institute.

The program began last year, with students from several Lincoln Tech branches attending select IndyCar events for an entire weekend.

The students, primarily from auto and diesel training programs, got an insiders experience with the team, taking part in team meetings, watching team workers prepare and service the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda of driver James Hinchcliffe, sat on pit boxes during practices, qualifying and, of course races.

The overall experience was to get students more interested and involved in potential careers in the IndyCar field.

“We said at the beginning of last season that we knew our students would benefit and learn from the professionalism and drive of the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team,” Lincoln Tech President and CEO Scott Shaw said. “But the experience they received working with the entire pit crew team and in particular crew member Cole Jagger – a Lincoln Tech graduate himself – went beyond even our own expectations.

“We were grateful for the time they spent mentoring our students, and we are thrilled to once again be part of the racing legacy of team owners Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson.”

Lincoln Tech will once again serve as an associate sponsor on Hinchcliffe’s car for the entire 2018 IndyCar season. In addition, it is expanding its Mentor Program to select students to attend a minimum of nine IndyCar races from six last season.

Students are selected based upon their grade point average, attendance, conduct and overall commitment to becoming outstanding automotive technicians. An interest in IndyCar and a desire to work in the industry is also considered.

One student that took part last season, Tyler Crist of Lincoln Tech’s Denver campus, joined the team at the IndyCar race in Long Beach last April, watching as Hinchcliffe won the event.

“It was the best weekend of my life,” Crist said after the event. “It reminded me of why I joined this field in the first place and to never give up on my dreams.”

Jagger will oversee the expanded mentoring program this season. For Jagger, being involved especially hits home, as he is a graduate of Lincoln Tech’s Indianapolis campus.

“I totally enjoyed working with the Lincoln Tech students that participated in the Mentor Program last year and look forward to meeting this year’s group,” Jagger said. “Being a Lincoln Tech grad, I hope the students realize that if you have a passion for cars, a career in racing is something that’s not out of reach. If I can be an example for them to follow, that makes it even more rewarding.”

In addition to the at-track activities of the mentoring program, several Lincoln Tech branches across the country will utilize CNC computerized machining and manufacturing tools to assist in creating car parts for SPM.

“Through this unique partnership, we’re able to hopefully find the next class of talent that could one day be part of our organization,” SPM president Jon Flack said. “We’re looking forward to another year of the mentorship program and having their students be ‘boots on the ground’ gaining real-life experience with our team.”

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