Alex Tagliani, Barracuda Racing aim for turnaround

IndyCar — By on July 1, 2013 9:55 am

It takes more than just talent to win races in IndyCar. It takes a fearless driver, a great team, a good setup on the car, and a little bit of good luck as well. There has been one key ingredient missing from the Barracuda Racing team this season. The only type of luck Alex Tagliani and Bryan Herta’s team have had this season has been the bad kind. We’re past the halfway point in the season, but to write them off now though would be a big mistake.

Things have been ugly since Indianapolis, we know. But a closer look will give you a better indication of how lady luck has played a significant role in their 2013 season. They finished 23rd at Indianapolis after a scrape with the wall. Still, they were the fastest qualifying Honda car in the field. Tagliani, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter, did lead a lap in this year’s race.

The dual races in Detroit started out well, but the team were snake bitten on both days. Tagliani started 5th in the first race and moved his way up to 3rd when his problems began. It was discovered a bearing in the steering rack failed on his car. In the second race, he gained 11 spots in the first nine laps before he was rear-ended by another driver. After fixing the car, they got collected in another multi-car crash later in the race. The team couldn’t catch a break during a caution at Texas and had a mechanical issue end their day in Milwaukee.

The team announced their #GoodLuck project just before the Iowa race, and it looked good early. During their qualifying heat race, they finished in third place, which earned them one championship point over everyone else. They started ninth and were working towards a top ten finish halfway through the race when Tagliani made contact with the wall in turn 2 trying to make a pass. They finished 24th and are now 22nd in the standings heading into Pocono.

There are a lot of drivers who run well on just the ovals or on just the road and street courses. There are few that can do it on both, and Tagliani is one of them. Looking at the remaining races on the schedule, it would appear that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Last year in Toronto, Tagliani finished in the top ten. This year, he gets two chances there as this year’s weekend will feature a set of dual races. If you count the seven Champ Car races he finished there, Alex’s average finishing position at Toronto is fifth. The Canadian always runs well in his home country. Last year he finished in the top 5 at Edmonton, where he led the most laps (49) of the race.

At Mid-Ohio last year, he again finished in the top ten. He did the same thing at Sonoma (finished ninth) and Baltimore (finished eighth). No one was hotter than this team after Indianapolis last season, and the points standings reflected that. Things were going well at Auto Club Speedway at the end of last season before contact ended their day. Tagliani led 21 laps in that race.

The one thing holding this team back is something that’s completely out of their control. Still, looking at the schedule, past performances, and knowing the resolve of the team, you have to figure a break-through is coming. At some point, the bad luck has to come to an end.

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