Tagliani: I’m really satisfied with the kind of season we had

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Tagliani: I’m really satisfied with the kind of season we had
By: René Fagnan
Dec 8, 2018, 2:35 PM

Veteran Canadian racer Alex Tagliani ranked second in this year’s final standings of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. He talked to Motorsport.com about his accomplishments and his frustrations.

Alex Tagliani
Alex Tagliani
Podium: race winner Alex Tagliani
Alex Tagliani
Race winner Alex Tagliani
Alex Tagliani
Podium: race winner Alex Tagliani, second place Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, third place Alex Labbe

Veteran Canadian racer Alex Tagliani ranked second in this year’s final standings of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. He talked to Motorsport.com about his accomplishments and his frustrations.

Alex Tagliani drove his No. 18 Epipen/Rona/St-Hubert Chevrolet to one pole position in Toronto and two victories, on the streets of Trois-Rivières and on Canadian Tire Motorsport Park’s road course in August.

However, his last two races of the season brought disappointment as he finished seventh at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway and a lowly 13th at the finale at Jukasa Motor Speedway. His other setback came at Autodrome Chaudière in June with an 11th place finish. He eventually lost the title by just seven points to L-P Dumoulin, 516 to 523.

This year, his car was prepared by Scott Steckly’s 22Racing in Milverton, Ontario. “We were consistent and fast everywhere,” Tagliani told Motorsport.com “I’m really satisfied with the kind of season we had. I’m really proud of the team. They worked really hard all year long. I never retired from a race, which is exceptional. I had fun and the car was great to drive.

“Second place is a good result. Normally, people should be happy with such a strong performance. However, we lost the title by just seven points. Whether you win, or you finish fifth, there’s not a huge difference in the number of points you score. So, playing catch up is very hard to achieve in that series. I have the impression the title slipped out of my hands,” he explained.

“At the season’s opener held on Canadian Tire Motorsport Park’s road course, I was in the lead with just three laps to go and my car suddenly slowed down because of a mechanical breakdown. I finished 14th. I lost 28 points right there. It hurt me badly,” Tagliani recalled.

“I finished third at Jukasa Motor Speedway and hit trouble at Autorome Chaudière. A bolt came loose under the hood and hit the sway bar, causing some damage and altering the set-up of the car. I then encountered all sorts of problems during the race and finished 13th. After three rounds, I was low in the standings. Two bad races made me lose about 40 points.”

He admitted that the Toronto round could have finish better. “I started from the pole and led the race. On the final restart, I was too much of a gentleman and left the door opened. Andrew [Ranger] passed me, and his pursuer also tried to get through, and he hit me and my car got lightly damaged. I take full responsibility for this one.

“At the Western Canada tour, I got some good podium finishes. I took third and sixth at Wyant Group Raceway double header in Saskatoon, and then third again at Edmonton International Raceway.

After that, I won the Trois-Rivières race and the second CTMP road course race,” he stated.

Win some, lose some

However, the end of the season proved to be more difficult than expected for Tagliani. “We didn’t get the end of season we expected. It was out first visit to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. My car was quite fast in practice and qualifying. On race day, another small problem altered the handling of the car. We worked hard to solve it but didn’t succeed. I finished seventh, one position ahead of L-P [Dumoulin], but to be honest, it was a disappointment, because the car was good and fast enough to be on the podium.”

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series competitors arrived for the ultimate and decisive race of the season at Jukasa Motor Speedway. L-P Dumoulin led the point standings with a four-point lead over Tagliani.

“I was confident. My car was just fantastic,” Tagliani said. “I ran in the top four early in the race. Then, the right front tire began to vibrate. My car started to push badly. I ended up running behind J-F [Dumoulin] who was protecting his brother, L-P. I tried hard to pass him. We touched and I got penalised for it. I then got a one-lap penalty, yes one lap, because my car was not perfectly aligned into our pit box when we pitted earlier in the race. I crossed the finish line in 13th place, securing second place in the final standings.”

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“Tag” admits it would have been very difficult to do things differently. “Last winter, I told the team that if we could get the oval results I got in 2016 and add those to my road races results of 2017, it should translate into a pretty good season and a fight for the title. That’s exactly what happened,” he added.

“It just boiled down to little details. We don’t need to build new race cars or to change the set-ups completely. We just need to fine tune a few things, which is pretty reassuring. We should be in the hunt for the title in 2019,” Tagliani concluded.

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Series NASCAR Canada
Drivers Alex Tagliani
Author René Fagnan