Skip to content

Tagliani, Barracuda, BHA due for a luck turnaround

Apr 30, 2013, 1:00 PM EST

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - Day 3 Getty Images

Ardent observers of this year’s IZOD IndyCar Series will note a few drivers’ results have not accurately reflected their pace. Alex Tagliani, for the Bryan Herta Autosport/Barracuda Racing team, is one of those.

Once BHA switched from the woeful Lotus powerplants to Hondas a year ago – which meant they withdrew from the race at Sao Paulo, Brazil – Tag and the No. 98 Barracuda team were a revelation. Qualifying as the second fastest Honda at Indianapolis was followed by four consecutive appearances in the Firestone Fast Six on road and street courses.

Tagliani was one of only four drivers (Will Power, Dario Franchitti, James Hinchcliffe) to post such a streak. The Lotus experience made the team stronger, because it allowed them to better develop the car to compensate for the horsepower deficit.

“It was bad memories and frustrating, but we really worked hard to compensate and from the moment we got the Hondas, the boys were prepared and the pace was really good,” Tagliani said in a phone interview Monday. “There were lots of little glitches from not being used to the Honda with software and things like that. We paid the price and that was normal. But our pace was fantastic at that point.”

This year, despite qualifying positions of 17th, 15th and 21st, and only one top-10 finish (10th at St. Petersburg), both team and driver are actually ahead of their pace a year ago. The endings haven’t been happy yet because of poor luck, but the package is substantially improved.

“Where we’re at right now, I’m not too afraid of the pace and performance,” Tagliani said. “But I’m gonna go light some candles at Church, or I’m gonna try some weird (stuff) to get our luck back. The only race where we were not up to par was St. Pete.”

The reason for that was the team had not yet found the right setup balance on the 2013 Firestone tire compounds. BHA tested only twice in the offseason, once at Sebring in December on the 2012 compounds, and at the official preseason test in Barber in March.

From Barber, Tagliani has often ended practice sessions in the top five, but has seemingly drawn the short stack in qualifying every group. Quicker times don’t necessarily translate to advancing if one group’s collective times beat another’s.

“We were good on the 2012 tires – like second or third at Sebring – and then it took a weekend to dial the 2013 ones in,” he said. “We’ve already progressed. The blacks or reds just change the balance and sometimes you’re better on one or the other.”

Long Beach was another exercise in frustration – a run from 21st, near Marco Andretti and eventual podium finisher Justin Wilson – had Tagliani up to the top 10 by lap 32 before contact with Charlie Kimball at Turn 8. Kimball didn’t have a chance at making the corner and when Tagliani turned in, the collision was inevitable.

Still, Tagliani praises the team’s continuity and his own level of dedication to maintain the high performance. At 40, he’s the oldest full-time driver in the series, but you wouldn’t know it by his fitness regimen.

“We have the continuity, and we have the chemistry,” he said. “You think those things are overrated but they’re not. I’m in the best shape physically I’ve been in. I don’t need to say much to interact with the guys – we just get it. We know where we need to be and work as a group. We’ve already regrouped and got the car back. Now we just need the luck.”

Latest Posts
  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ponders a 24-hour NASCAR race

    Jan 25, 2015, 11:33 PM EST

    Dale Jr. TaxSlayer Bowl 2015 Getty Images

    A big fan of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Jr. posed a rather interesting question to his Twitter followers: Could NASCAR ever do — let alone consider — a 24-hour race?

  2. NASCAR: John Hunter Nemechek, XFINITY champ Chase Elliott win at SpeedFest

    Jan 25, 2015, 7:34 PM EST

    Lucas Oil 200 - Practice Getty Images

    Nemechek, Elliott victorious in late model doubleheader Sunday at Cordele, Ga.

  3. Site of previously planned NASCAR track in New York to finally be developed

    Jan 25, 2015, 6:00 PM EST

    nascar logo

    Land once earmarked for a new NASCAR track in New York will instead become a big box and manufacturing complex.

  4. ‘Do you get mad when your boyfriend wrecks you?’ Danica Patrick faces kids’ pressing questions

    Jan 25, 2015, 5:38 PM EST

    Credit: NASCAR Credit: NASCAR

    Patrick had fun Sunday taking part in a children’s Q-and-A session at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. But she’s also ready to start her third full season of Sprint Cup racing.

  5. Jeff Gordon to serve as NASCAR TV analyst this season

    Jan 25, 2015, 4:44 PM EST

    Federated Auto Parts 400 Getty Images

    Gordon will be part of a rotation of driver analysts for Fox Sports’ coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015.

  6. Renault director: We’re aiming for at least five F1 wins in 2015

    Jan 25, 2015, 3:42 PM EST

    Cyril Abiteboul AP

    Cyril Abiteboul also says Renault is pushing to cut Mercedes’ 2014 horsepower advantage in half by this year’s season opener.

  7. Jack Roush hung up on twice — and Jeff Gordon was gone

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:57 PM EST

    Jack Roush Getty Images

    Jack Roush isn’t used to being hung up on, but Jeff Gordon’s stepfather and business manager did so twice when the Cat in the Hat wanted to sign Gordon to drive a Ford in 1992.

  8. Ganassi’s No. 02 Riley-Ford Scores Rolex 24 Victory

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:22 PM EST

    02rolexwin AP

    Ganassi back on top at Rolex 24 at Daytona.

  9. Rolex extends 23-year sponsor role of Rolex 24 at Daytona

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:58 PM EST

    rolex 24 logo

    Rolex Watch USA will continue to sponsor the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a partnership that began 23 years ago, the watch company and Daytona International Speedway have announced.

  10. Bill Elliott: Ford passed on son Chase, but Hendrick and Chevy rode to the rescue

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:15 PM EST

    Bill and Chase Elliott PHX 2014 Getty Images

    Bill Elliott originally wanted son Chase in a Ford when he began his racing career. But when a deal couldn’t be worked out, the Elliott’s took a deal offered by Rick Hendrick and Chevrolet.

  11. MotorSportsTalk 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona Sunday blog

    Jan 25, 2015, 12:20 PM EST

    MSTblog2 Getty Images

    Sunday has dawned at the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona.

  12. NASCAR: Kyle Larson says he’d “like to try” Le Mans in Twitter Q&A

    Jan 25, 2015, 12:05 PM EST

    Rolex 24 At Daytona Getty Images

    The NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie of the year has been busy helping the No. 02 Ganassi team stay in contention at the Rolex 24.

  13. Rico Abreu says there’s still a lot for him to learn after 1st stock car race

    Jan 25, 2015, 11:14 AM EST

    Credit: RicoAbreu.com Credit: RicoAbreu.com

    The Chili Bowl champion and future NASCAR K&N East driver assesses his night in a Super Late Model car at New Smyrna Speedway.

  14. Trey Canard wins Oakland Supercross, Ryan Dungey takes over 450SX points lead

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:10 AM EST

    trey_canard_supercross_2015_anaheim2_v2 Getty Images

    An early mistake from Ken Roczen shuffled him to the back of the field and resulted in him giving up the points lead.

  15. Malcolm Stewart records first career 250SX win at Oakland Supercross

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:55 AM EST

    malcolm_stewart_supercross_2015_phoenix Getty Images

    Cooper Webb retained the points lead in the 250 Class but had some pointed words for Tyler Bowers after the race.

  16. MotorSportsTalk 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona Saturday blog

    Jan 24, 2015, 11:10 PM EST

    Rolex24post1MST Getty Images

    The 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona is now underway.

  17. Chili Bowl champ Rico Abreu finishes 13th in stock car debut (UPDATED)

    Jan 24, 2015, 10:50 PM EST

    Credit: RicoAbreu.com Credit: RicoAbreu.com

    UPDATED: A pair of disqualifications involving two of Abreu’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teammates elevate the Chili Bowl champion to a 13th place finish.

  18. Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon moving into NASCAR radio coverage

    Jan 24, 2015, 7:06 PM EST

    SEMA Show NASCAR Announcement Getty Images

    Coon will work on MRN Radio’s live qualifying and race broadcasts in 2015.

  19. Life after Ferrari: Luca di Montezemolo could become head of Rome’s 2024 Olympic bid

    Jan 24, 2015, 5:23 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Qualifying Getty Images

    Since resigning from Ferrari last fall, Montezemolo has taken over as CEO of an Italian airline and joined the board of directors for F1’s controlling shareholder.

  20. Veterans’ assistance group working to buy Rockingham Speedway

    Jan 24, 2015, 3:08 PM EST

    Carolina 200 Getty Images

    Vets-Help hopes to not only host disabled veterans’ races at the track, but also build a residential complex and rehab center for vets and soldiers returning from war.

Video from NASCAR America

Gordon hesitant to call it 'retirement'
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Clements (1314)
  2. B. Vickers (1310)
  3. M. Waltrip (1284)
  4. K. Grala (1276)
  5. M. Lira (1163)