Alex Tagliani completed a hard-fought, sixth-place qualifying run in 100+ degree temperatures on Friday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway.
Tagliani ran a 33.4348 on lap one of the two-lap qualifying attempt. Lap two was a 33.4717 for a total time of 1:06.9065 and an average qualifying speed of 215.226mph, only 0.843mph off the pole pace.
Barracuda Racing will serve a ten-spot grid penalty for Saturday night’s MAVTV 500 race. The team changed its Honda engine and received the penalty pursuant to IndyCar rule 15.5.4.b.
Currently running 15th in the championship point standings, Tagliani and his team are working hard to gain a few extra positions to finish the 2012 season strong. The qualifying run proved even more impressive after turning only a few laps during the first practice session on Friday morning.
“That qualifying run was a good recovery,” said Tagliani. “We tried something this morning that didn’t work and we recovered really well. We were able to put the car in the top six on an oval. It seems that we are able to qualify in the top six no matter where we go and we probably have the least amount of miles as anybody out here so far.
“The boys at Barracuda Racing have done a great job. No matter where we are and no matter what the situation, they never give up and they believe. And I believe. So now we just have another very important practice session to get some data on our car, and hopefully we can have a good race and finish the season strong. I think we all deserve it.”
IndyCar will publish the official starting grid on Friday evening after the final practice, which will reflect all teams that are serving the ten-spot grid penalty for that evening’s season finale.
The MAVTV 500 will take place on the two-mile Auto Club Speedway track under the lights on Saturday, September 15, 2012. Pre-race ceremonies for the IZOD IndyCar Series season finale are scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. PDT with an estimated green flag drop at 5:50 p.m. The 500-mile, 250-lap competition will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network from 4:30-9:30 p.m. PDT. Fans can also listen to the radio broadcast on IMS Radio Network and Sirius (XM 94 and Sirius 212).