Canada’s Alex Tagliani, Townsend Bell and James Davison have earned starts at the 98th Indy 500 this weekend after completing four-lap qualifying runs in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Saturday and Sunday.
Tagliani, who competes in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class of the TUDOR Championship, co-driving with Chris Cumming in the No. 08 RSR Racing ORECA FLM09, qualified with a four-lap average of 229.148 mph to start 24th for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in the No. 68 Honda. Tagliani was the 2009 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, finishing 11th, and became the first Canadian to win the pole for the 500 in 2011. This will be his 6th start in the event, with his best finish 10th in 2010.
“There is some more speed in this car, we know that, but now that qualifying is over, we switch our gear to race mode and make sure our car is good during the race and in traffic,” Tagliani said. “The only thing that matters now is the race and coming up with a good plan for how we can put both of our cars up front."
Bell, who co-pilots the No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia with Bill Sweedler, is currently co-leader in the GT Daytona class standings. This will be his 8th Indy 500. He will start from the 25th position, and hopes to top his 4th place finish in the 2009 driving for KV Racing Technology. This year Bell will drive to KV Racing’s No. 6 Chevy, sponsored by Robert Graham.
“We've got a great car in race configuration,” Bell said. “Maybe not the fastest one out there, but strong in traffic. I hope I can make IMSA proud!”
In the meantime, Bell’s teammate in the No. 4- KV Racing car, James Davison qualified for his first Indy 500 with a time oft 228.865 mph driving the No. 33 Always Evolving Racing Chevrolet. Davidson, who regularly drives the No. 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage with Al Carter for TRG-AMR in the TUDOR Championship, won at Indy in 2005, on the road course in the Formula BMW USA event. He will start at 28 in the big race this weekend.
“I’m aware that the race is what matters – it’s 500 miles,” he stated. “It’s a completely different situation than what outright speed your car has in qualifying. I’m just really looking forward to getting some race setup work done and getting into the race.”