Interview

Tagliani Would Embrace Shot at an Oval

While known in NASCAR circles as a road course expert, Alex Tagliani wants it to be known he can get the job done on ovals behind the wheel of a stock car.

“I’d really like to,” Tagliani told POPULAR SPEED. “I’m not hiding the fact that I’m good on road courses in the car, but I could be good on an oval. I believe that I like the feel of the car and I think it suits my driving style.”

The Quebec native has shown flashes of brilliance in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, scoring two dominant wins at Sunset Speedway.

With clear intentions, though, he has yet to be able to lock up any dates for this year’s schedule. There is a possibility Tagliani could run a road course event after posting a runner-up finish at Mid-Ohio driving for Team Penske last year.

“I don’t know yet,” Tagliani said of his schedule. “There’s still open races that I can do, but I’m not sure yet. I’m probably going to use the upcoming race to go and have a discussion with Roger and the team. But I believe Roger has grown faith and confidence in what I do in the car and what I provide as a driver for the team.”

Tagliani has made the most of his limited starts with Penske. In five starts, he’s started no worse than second and has just one finish outside the top five. While he’d like to earn his first career XFINITY Series win, Tagliani doesn’t feel a win would automatically offer the opportunity he wants.

“I don’t expect Roger to give me a drive on an oval because I won a road course,” he said. “I think what I’ve done on a road course, in general, has been good. I think they’re really happy with me. I run clean, don’t make enemies; I don’t have a target on my back, and someone wants to take me out because I drive like an idiot. So I think that being said, it speaks for itself.”

Tagliani suggested the possibility of running a couple of ovals in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series first. He says it’d show the dedication and fact he wants to work to the long-term goal eventually.

Focused on his Pinty’s Series schedule commitments, there aren’t any oval dates planned currently. However, there are discussions in place for Tagliani to run the truck race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in the fall. He was in contention to win last year until a gear issue relegated him to fifth place.

“I’m always trying to do that race,” he said. “I really like it. I’ve been really close, so I know if I can do the race, I’m going to be quick and try to win. But it’s not done yet.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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