Oct 20, 2013, 1:51 AM EDT
Brought in to replace the injured Dario Franchitti and provide support for title contender Scott Dixon in tonight’s IndyCar Series season finale at Auto Club Speedway, open-wheel veteran Alex Tagliani attempted to make the most of his best opportunity in some time.
Tagliani, who stepped out of his drive with Barracuda Racing in late July, started 21st for the MAV TV 500 but charged into the Top 5 by the midway point and then went on to lead a few laps shortly after in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Unfortunately for the Canadian driver, his solid night went bad with 40 laps to go when he spun out coming off of Turn 2 and made contact with the wall – relegating him to a 14th-place finish after a promising run with one of IndyCar’s top teams.
Like Tagliani at TCGR, A.J. Allmendinger was called upon to help Team Penske’s own championship hopeful, Helio Castroneves, in a third car tonight in Fontana.
But he had found his own trouble just a little bit beforehand, when he lost control of his No. 2 IZOD Chevrolet going through Turn 3 and then smashed into the Turn 4 wall with 61 laps to go.
The incident capped off an up-and-down, part-time IndyCar run for Allmendinger this season before he returns to full-time Sprint Cup competition next year with JTG Daugherty Racing.
‘Dinger made six IndyCar starts for Team Penske and finished seventh in his first Indianapolis 500, but with his crash tonight taken into account, he also suffered four DNFs in that stretch.
Those DNFs include a gearbox failure at Long Beach and a pair of first-lap crashes in both races of the Detroit Belle Isle doubleheader weekend in June.