Alex Tagliani

Photo: IndyCar

Oh, Canada! James Hinchcliffe hopes to repay countrymen for support with Indy 500 win

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INDIANAPOLIS — Polesitter James Hinchcliffe wants to obviously win Sunday’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 for himself and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

He also wants to win for his family – all 35 million of them.

Hinchcliffe understands very well the huge significance of what his being in the 500 means to everyone in his native Canada.

Since winning the pole, Hinchcliffe has been front-page news from Halifax to Vancouver. He also knows millions of his fellow Canadians will be watching the 500 on television and cheering for the guy who proudly wears the maple leaf.

“After last Sunday, the amount of support pouring out of home was very overwhelming,” Hinchcliffe said during Thursday’s Indy 500 Media Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The amount of messages I got that were ‘regardless of what happens Sunday (in the Indy 500), we’re all behind you,’ that’s so nice.”

Now Hinchcliffe hopes to repay the faith his countrymen have had in him throughout his racing career.

“Being the only full-time Canadian driver in the field. I want to do my country proud,” Hinchcliffe said. “I want to give Canadian motorsports fans something to cheer for.”

Hinchcliffe is one of a number of IndyCar drivers that have hailed from north of the border. Among those have been Paul Tracy (from Scarborough, Ontario), Scott Goodyear (Toronto), Alex Tagliani (Montreal) and Patrick Carpentier (LaSalle, Quebec). Tagliani, who starts 33rd, book-ends the field of 33 this year.

And let’s not forget Jacques Villeneuve (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec), the only Canadian to ever win the 500, having done so in 1995, ironically when Goodyear passed the pace car.

“The support I’ve felt from back home from Day 1 of my IndyCar career has just been incredible,” said Hinchcliffe, who hails from the outlying Toronto suburb of Oakville. “We’ve had some good years and bad years, and regardless of the results and in true Canadian fashion, they’re behind you win, lose or draw.

“It’s just incredible. I’ve gotten so lucky to come from that place. To know you have that support and they’re behind you in any situation is huge.”

While Hinchcliffe was a huge Villeneuve fan, the one Indy car driver that he has tried to emulate in his career is the late Greg Moore, who was killed in a crash at Fontana, California, in 1999.

Moore never got the chance to race at Indianapolis, primarily due to the split between CART and the Indy Racing League in 1996.

“Obviously, we lost him too soon,” Hinchcliffe said of Moore. “I was a huge (Jacques) Villeneuve fan. He was really the guy that got me into it (Indy car racing).

“And when he switched to F1, sure, I followed his F1 career very closely, but in IndyCar, his replacement was Greg Moore. And that’s the guy that really connected with me somehow, and not just how he drove.

“There were a lot of bad-fast racing drivers, but Greg was a really great human being. That was the guy that I looked at and thought, ‘Hey, if I ever get to do this for a living, that’s the guy I want to be like.”

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Tagliani crashes during Sunday qualifying in Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS – The second day of qualifying is underway for the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil but while the first four cars out to qualify – Pippa Mann, Gabby Chaves, Max Chilton and Buddy Lazier – have done so without incident, Alex Tagliani was not so lucky.

The Canadian veteran and 2011 polesitter in the No. 35 Alfe Heat Treating Special Honda for A.J. Foyt Enterprises lost control through Turn 4, spun around, and then hit the attenuator at pit-in.

It will mean Tagliani is set to start from the rear of the 33-car field for next week’s Indianapolis 500. Tagliani’s Saturday speed, since deleted as all Saturday speeds are, but for your reference was 224.507 mph.

He has been checked, cleared and released from the infield medical center.

The team had made significant setup changes overnight following a frustrating Saturday for both Tagliani and Jack Hawksworth’s teams. Takuma Sato had ended 17th on Saturday.

While there’s frustration and angst for Tagliani, there’s jubilation in Scott Dixon’s camp, after the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet crew has completed a Herculean effort to change engines on his car in just over an hour. The process usually takes multiple hours because the engine is a bespoke part of the chassis; it’s not a straight drag-and-drop as in past years.

The Fast Nine Shootout comes following the conclusion of qualifying for spots 10-33.

Tagliani, Brabham liveries unveiled for Month of May

Tagliani photo: Tony DiZinno; Brabham photo: PIRTEK Team Murray
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INDIANAPOLIS – Two of the four extra entries for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Alex Tagliani and Matthew Brabham – have had formal unveils of their liveries beyond their renderings in the last 24 hours.

Last night at the Foyt Wine Vault on Main St. in Speedway, Tagliani’s No. 35 Alfe Heat Treating Special Honda was revealed.

The French Canadian joins A.J. Foyt Enterprises full-season drivers Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth, who drive the Nos. 14 and 41 ABC Supply Co. Hondas, for both races this month.

The No. 35 car is numbered in tribute to Foyt’s 35 consecutive starts from 1958 to 1992, and the black and orange livery matches Foyt’s Copenhagen colors from later in his career, particularly 1991 and 1992.

That photo is below:

TagCar

Meanwhile, the PIRTEK Team Murray livery for Brabham has also been released. Brabham, the Australian American, seeks to become the third third generation family to compete in the Indianapolis 500. He’ll drive the No. 61 Chevrolet owned by Brett “Crusher” Murray with veteran engineer Andy Brown, and a KV Racing Technology technical partnership.

Alex Tagliani will make No. 35 lucky for five AJ Foyt fans

Photo: Alfe Racing
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On May 10th, Alfe Heat Treating will unveil the No. 35 “Tribute to AJ Foyt” IndyCar at the Foyt Wine Vault in Speedway Ind.

It’s the formal reveal of the car that was announced when Alex Tagliani’s month of May program was announced in March.

“We want to honor the fans of IndyCar and AJ Foyt by inviting them to partake in a special event with us and share in the excitement surrounding the 100th Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” Ryan Westman, regional sales manager and director of motorsports for Fort Wayne-based Alfe Heat Treating, said in a release.

The event will be a private viewing of the tribute car along with the opportunity to meet and take photos with Tagliani, Takuma Sato, and Jack Hawksworth, all drivers for A.J. Foyt Enterprises.

The tribute car will be driven by Tagliani in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis 500. It bears the No. 35 for the number of consecutive starts Foyt made in the Indy 500 from 1958 through 1992. The number also has the added significance of being Foyt’s birth year, all of which the team hopes will be a lucky omen.

Before the racing begins, five race fans will have already experienced the luck by entering a Facebook contest one week prior to the special unveiling event. Alfe Heating is sponsoring a contest for which five winners will receive two tickets for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indy on May 14th.

Beginning at noon Eastern time through 4 pm ET on May 3, fans will have the opportunity to answer a question alternately on the Alfe Racing and AJ Foyt Racing Facebook page, with the first person answering each question correctly earning a ticket for two to the May 10th unveiling and May 14 race.

Winners must be 21 years or older, or if younger accompanied by an adult aged 21 or older.

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Tagliani confirmed for Alfe Foyt return at Indy 500, plus Indy GP

Photo: Alfe Racing/A.J. Foyt Enterprises
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Add another car to this year’s 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil: Alex Tagliani will return for A.J. Foyt Enterprises, in a newly renumbered No. 35 Honda with Alfe Heat Treating the sponsor. Tagliani finished 17th in last year’s race in the No. 48 car.

Meanwhile, both driver and team will get a tune-up with confirmation they’ll also race the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14.

The release is below:

Alfe Heat Treating will sponsor the No. 35 Honda Dallara to be driven by Alex Tagliani in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, a.k.a. the Indy Double.

The number 35 was chosen to honor A.J. Foyt’s record 35 straight starts in the Indianapolis 500—from 1958 through 1992. The car’s livery will evoke memories of the black No. 14 Copenhagen cars that Foyt drove in the latter part of his legendary career.

“We chose the number 35 because it is the number of consecutive starts A.J. had at the Brickyard as well as being A.J.’s birth year, a lucky number,” said Kurt Westman, Founder and CEO of Alfe Heat Treating, Inc.

Tagliani, who competed in the Indy 500 last year in an Alfe Heat Treating-sponsored car and will again this year, will drive in the May 14th Angie’s List Grand Prix for the first time in his career which spans 203 IndyCar races over 16 seasons.

“We are happy to have Alex back as he did a great job for us last year, and we are hopeful for an even better performance this year!” Westman said.

“I feel very privileged and honored to be driving the Alfe Heat Treating Honda,” said Tagliani, who won the pole for the 2011 Indy 500. “Alfe is a great company and I met a lot of good people last year with their headquarters being so close to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I’m very excited to be driving for the AJ Foyt Racing organization again. To be driving for them at the Speedway during the month of May is very special. The 100th Running of the Indy 500 will make it even more unique.

Tagliani last raced an IndyCar on the road and street circuits in 2013, when eight of the 14 events he drove in the Verizon IndyCar Series were either in the streets or on a road course.

“I’m looking forward to driving the Indy road course in an IndyCar—I’ve heard a lot of amazing things on the performance of the car,” Tagliani said. “It will be difficult because I haven’t driven an IndyCar on a road course in several years. Jumping in the car on a road course in something that is very new will be tough, but the positive is that I will be in the car for the month of May. Getting used to the guys and working with the team is very important if you want to maximize the performance of the driver, the team and the car. Hopefully we can do a good job for the whole Alfe team and everyone who has been so supportive of me like Sexton Properties and everyone I’ve been involved with at the Speedway over the last two years.”

This year will be the third straight year that Alfe Heat Treating has focused on a design that has meaning beyond the traditional sponsor-centric livery. In the 2014 Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the No. 41 car featured the retro-livery in “Foyt Poppy Red” in honor of Foyt’s record-setting Indy 500 victory in 1977. Last year, Dan Gurney’s No. 48 All American Eagle was selected as the design, dark-hued and complete with white racing stripes. Alex Tagliani drove it to a 17th place finish in the 500.

Additionally, Alfe Heat Treating returns for the sixth straight season as an associate sponsor of the team which fields the No. 14 and No. 41 ABC Supply Honda-Dallaras driven by Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth.

“We are very happy to be back with AJ Foyt Racing and we’re looking forward to a competitive 2016 racing season as an associate sponsor to the ABC Supply 14 and 41 cars,” Westman added. “We are glad to have Jack and Takuma back with the team. The Foyt team has been wonderful representatives for the Alfe brand, and we couldn’t be more proud of them!”

“Alfe’s been a great associate sponsor for us,” said Foyt. “We couldn’t work with nicer people and they are always 100 percent behind the team, so I can’t ask for much more than that. It’s great that they want to recognize my 35 starts at Indy by choosing the number 35, and when I see that car looking like some of my old race cars, well that will be pretty special too. I hope the fans get a kick out of it.

“I’m glad to have Alex back in the car– he did a great job last year—he even led the race,” Foyt added. “It was just for a couple laps, but still he led the race. We know he can run fast. Plus I think the crew will be a little more tuned up this year by doing two races instead of one.”

“It is good to have A.J. feeling better and back at the track along with ABC Supply and Alfe Heat Treating—to me, that sounds like a winning combination for AJ Foyt Racing,” concluded Westman.