TORONTO, Ont — Last year, Alex Tagliani played out the inaugural Pinty’s Grand Prix well on the streets of Toronto, running up front throughout the event in the top-three. He then passed Andrew Ranger, leading the final 13 circuits en route to scoring the victory.
Now flash forward to 2017, things haven’t gone as smoothly for the Tagliani Autosport/22 Racing driver as following an 18th in the season-opener at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, he has posted only one podium despite leading 117 laps in the three races since.
“We’ve been running pretty fast, always up front,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “I just need to find the right place at the right time because I think we’ve had a lot of bad luck, and domination doesn’t matter if there’s a restart as you’re exposed. Last weekend (at Circuit ICAR), we got taken out after leading 61 laps out of 75. Very disappointing, but it is what it is.”
While the fifth-place finish wasn’t what he had hoped for, it allows him to enter this weekend with an added boost of confidence.
“I’m excited about the weekend,” he said. “I think our car has been really good. We won last year, so I think we’re going to try the best we can with what we control, and run quick, and try to stay in front and away from the mayhem.”
The belief he can run well once again comes not only from ICAR but the fact no matter the series he has competed in, the streets of Toronto have always seemed to treat him well.
“Some places suit you well, some places you can extract time out of it, but I’ve learned throughout my career that there’s not a place you can feel too confident about,” he said. “Things change. It only takes one small thing out of preparation and out of the car to feel you have it and then all of the sudden it doesn’t feel good. So I think you just always have to be on your toes, and push and never take racing for granted because things change.
“I’ve learned in my career even if you’ve had success at a place, you just have to approach it like it’s brand new and you have to do what it takes to win, but can’t just sit calmly.”
Coming out of this weekend with a strong finish could certainly kick off a good stretch for Tagliani in the second half of the season, which includes their marquee events at Trois-Rivieres and CTMP. The driver of the No. 18 Dodge could very well begin a streak of victories, based on success in previous seasons.
Though while he continues searching for success, he also is making his mark known outside of the racecar, continuing to spread awareness about food allergies, recently launching the “Drive the Discussion” contest.
“It’s on food allergy Canada website so all the NASCAR fans, everybody that wants to participate, has a chance to win pretty amazing prizes, like gift cards from Lowe’s,” he said. “Lowe’s has decided to join the initiative and thanks to them, plus all the weekly prizes that we have for the next six weeks. So whether suffering from food allergy, or just a fan, you can participate and maybe be a winner.”
Being allergic to nuts, Tagliani has been using his own experience to give tips and offer ways for people to handle food allergies.
“I think this particular contest with the fans will be interesting because it includes people with food allergy, and people without it – so friends that will comment on it,” he added. “So for us, it will be quite interesting to see what the challenges that they go through. People have heard my story, but being a supportive person for the initiative,
“I’m looking forward to hearing everybody else who is suffering from this particular thing that is a growing health issue in Canada at the moment.”
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