Long Beach, CA – Alex Tagliani’s qualifying attempt for Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was cut short by a full-course red flag on Saturday afternoon. As a result, Barracuda Racing will start P20 for the 80-lap race on Sunday.
Tagliani was on his way to the second round of Firestone Fast Six qualifying when an on-track incident caused the red flag in the middle of the No. 98′s best lap. With only minutes left in the session, the Barracuda Racing crew wasn’t allowed to go back out and improve their time.
“The timing of the red flag was obviously not in our favor,” explained team owner Bryan Herta. “Where we are in the pit lane worked against us as some cars were able to complete their lap while others, including us, did not.
“Whether you throw a red or a local yellow, and allow cars to finish a lap is under the chief steward’s direction. In this case, the track was blocked in turn one so they went full red course condition very quickly. Alex was on a lap that would’ve clearly put us into the top six in the session. We were not given the opportunity to complete the lap so as a result we’re going to start on row 10, which is not a true indication of the car or Alex’s speed. The good news is Long Beach affords us options in pit strategy and Alex feels good in the car so you can bet he will be on a mission tomorrow.”
Tagliani expressed his frustration, saying, “I’m pretty upset because the red flag cost us when we were on a mega lap. I know that Barracuda Racing would’ve easily made it to the next round.
“The incident was down in turn one and we were in turn nine. I don’t understand why we couldn’t finish our lap. I’m going to have a talk with Beaux Barfield and try to understand why. I just need an explanation.
“Nevertheless, it’s a shame because we had a really good car, so it’s tough to accept. Hopefully we can have a good race tomorrow with strategy and get back up front.”
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place tomorrow, Sunday, April 21 at 4 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network in the United States, and SportsNet and TVA Sports for fans in Canada.
Photo Credit: INDYCAR Photo