Alex Tagliani and his new FAZZT team made a promising debut in the IZOD IndyCar Series over the weekend, the French-Canadian qualifying second to Dario Franchitti. However, his hopes for a debut win were wrecked early – literally.
Tagliani ran second to Franchitti until lap 19, when he was demoted to third by Ryan Hunter-Reay. Shortly afterward, however, the FAZZT Dallara was rear-ended by Dan Wheldon's Panther entry on a restart from a full-course caution. The impact knocked the Bowers and Wilkins-backed car into Tony Kanaan and ended his race on the spot.
"We definitely came here and showed what we can do, but it's always a shame to finish like this – especially when it's out of your control and it's a race incident that could have been avoided, Tagliani said. "I'm a little bit bummed out but I'm also relieved that we came here to our first race and we were on the front row. That is a huge accomplishment for everyone and a good tribute to all the work everybody has done.
"We are anxious to go back and race again because we know we can do it and I think we will be pretty strong on the road and street courses like St. Petersburg, Barber, and Long Beach," Tagliani added. "It's very exciting and we can't wait to get back racing in two weeks time. I'm still just a little disappointed because the Bowers and Wilkins was a car to finish in the top three without doing anything special, so it's going to be a long two weeks to wait for St. Petersburg and to get back to racing."
FAZZT General Manager Rob Edwards shared Tagliani's frustration.
"I am just at a loss for words. It's a terribly disappointing way to end what had been an otherwise fantastic day," he said. "I really don't understand what happened. We got hit from behind – mistakes happen – it's just unfortunate that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But as a team we have to look at the positives of the weekend and for our first event everyone worked very well as a group. We had a good strategy for qualifying, a good strategy for the race. For the first event for Jim, Andre and Alex and our sponsors Bowers and Wilkins, hopefully they feel very proud of what we accomplished and we will look forward to St. Petersburg."
RACER.com has teamed up with Alex Tagliani and the FAZZT Race Team to answer your questions about any and all topics related to the team or the IZOD IndyCar Series. So send your questions to askFAZZT@racer.com and we'll send them on to the appropriate FAZZT team members, and post their answers here on RACER.com throughout the season in our "FAZZT Response" section.