IndyCar Driver Review: Alex Tagliani

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With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

P24 after a year with Barracuda Racing, then a cameo for Target Chip Ganassi Racing at Fontana, Alex Tagliani…

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Alex Tagliani

  • Teams: Barracuda Racing, Target Chip Ganassi Racing
  • 2012: 17th Place, Best Finish 5th, 1 Pole
  • 2013: 24th Place (14 Starts), Best Finish 10th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 6 Laps Led, 15.6 Avg. Start, 17.6 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: Tagliani’s storming second half of 2012 led me and several others in the IndyCar paddock to expect 2013 as a breakout season for the Canadian at Barracuda Racing … but 13 underwhelming races later it was a breakup for the Tag/Bryan Herta pairing. Several factors played a role; the team struggled to adapt to Firestone’s 2013 compounds and Tagliani was often in the wrong place in the wrong time. There were self-inflicted errors, too, and outside of two top-10s and one Firestone Fast Six appearance far too few results. Still, Tagliani boosted his stock once more with what Chip Ganassi deemed a “stellar” drive filling in for Dario Franchitti at Fontana. Hard to say whether he’ll get another IndyCar full season or shift to sports cars.

Estrada says: Tagliani’s 2013 season with Barracuda Racing was a letdown. Driver and team could never get on track with a top finish of only 10th (achieved twice, St. Petersburg and Toronto Race 2) and four DNFs before they parted ways after the Toronto weekend. But the Canadian was able to show what he can do with top-flight equipment when he suited up for the injured Dario Franchitti as part of Target Chip Ganassi Racing at Fontana. He worked his way into the Top 5 by the midway point and even led some laps before he spun and hit the wall late. We’ll see if that performance convinced somebody to give him a full-time program in 2014.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

HUSTLING HELIO: Castroneves hunting for 2021 rides in IMSA, IndyCar

Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.