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IndyCar Season Preview: Alex Tagliani

Photo credit: Albert Cesario (CC BY-NC-ND)

#98 Barracuda Networks Dallara-Lotus, Bryan Herta Autosport

Born: October 18, 1972

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

2011 HIGHLIGHTS: Tagliani scored three top fives in his second season driving the #77 Bowers & Wilkins car, this time for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. He also scored a surprising pole in Indianapolis 500 qualifying, as most of Schmidt’s cars were incredibly fast.

2011 LOWLIGHTS: Tagliani dropped through the field at Indy before hitting the wall on lap 148 and finishing 28th. Then, after scoring a season-best fourth place finish at Motegi, he was removed from the car at Kentucky in order to give Dan Wheldon a practice run before Las Vegas.

SEASON OUTLOOK: Tagliani landed on his feet with Bryan Herta Autosport at Las Vegas after a season of team-driver tension at Sam Schmidt Motorsports, and managed to hit it off with the team there. The quick chemistry that the two ex-CART pilots developed led to a full-time ride with BHA in 2012, as the team attempts to run its first full-time IndyCar program.

Tagliani’s experience and Herta’s determination to run his team the right way give them the potential to be the top Lotus program in 2012. But where that ranks them in the standings will depend on how well the late-developed Lotus engine stands against the Hondas and Chevrolets. If the Lotus underperforms, it doesn’t matter who’s running the show at BHA – this team won’t be in the top 15 at season’s end.

– Chris Leone

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