NASCAR: Alex Tagliani’s diverse season continues with Truck appearance for Keselowski

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This season, Alex Tagliani runs and operates his own NASCAR Canadian Tire Series team in Tagliani Autosport, has raced a partial season in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototoype Challenge class with RSR Racing, raced the Indianapolis 500 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and also raced in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with Team Penske.

Tagliani, who nearly won the Nationwide road course race at Road America in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford courtesy of a storming drive from 23rd to second in two laps, will have another road racing appearance in NASCAR with Brad Keselowski Racing later this month.

“Tag” will race the team’s No. 19 Ford at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, at the end of the month on August 31.

“Alex did a heck of a job in the Nationwide car for Team Penske at Road America and I knew I had to put him in one of my trucks,” Keselowski said in a team release.  “I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Added Tagliani, “It’s an honor to get a call to drive for Brad’s team this year, especially after sharing the No. 22 Team Penske Nationwide car with him for two races. It will be my first time competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but Mosport is a great track to drive and I am hoping to be able to help the team with a strong result.”

Even without ever having raced Trucks, consider Tagliani an early contender at the road course outside of Toronto.

Tagliani raced last weekend in the NASCAR Canadian Tire race at Trois-Rivieres and will compete in this weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Mid-Ohio with Penske.

His status for the TUDOR Championship PC race August 24 at Virginia International Raceway with RSR is to be determined. IndyCar driver Jack Hawksworth was in the No. 08 car alongside Chris Cumming at Indianapolis and Road America, and is expected to be in the car for the final two rounds at Austin and Petit Le Mans. The VIR weekend clashes with Hawksworth’s IndyCar duties at Sonoma Raceway.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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