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Conquest confirms Tagliani to race at Indy.

Alex Tagliani will race in next weekend's Indianapolis 500 despite failing to qualify for the race on Bump Day, after his Conquest Racing team opted to place the Canadian in temporary team-mate Bruno Junqueira's car.

Team owner Eric Bachelart announced the move late on Sunday night, with Tagliani - who found himself sat in the qualifying line when the gun sounded to end proceedings on Bump Day - set to replace Junqueira, who had earlier ensured that the team's #36 entry would make the race, despite having had hardly any track time all month.

“We had the chance to qualify two excellent drivers today but, unfortunately, we didn't have the same fate for both entries despite excellent work from everyone on the team," Bachelart explained, "Bruno has once again shown the world how talented a driver he is and we truly appreciate the work he has done for us in this short amount of time. We thank him for his excellent work.

"Alex didn't make the show, but it wasn't for a lack of speed or a fault of his own. He simply fell victim to exceptional circumstances. That's how the magic of Indy works sometimes - it can be good or bad. We've been working with Alex for a long time now and have built our commercial and marketing programme around him. He has been our primary driver since the start of the season and we felt that it was in the best interests of the team and our partners to have him in the car for the Indy 500 as we continue to build our future together.”

Junqueira, while naturally disappointed at seeing his hard work in chasing a ride for the blue riband event come to nought, insisted that he was always aware of the possibility that he would have to defer to Tagliani.

“It's a shame that Alex got bumped out of the field," he noted, "I knew, coming into this, that he is Conquest's primary driver and that, if something happened to the first car, that I would likely give him my place. I completely understand it.

"I want to thank the team and All Sport/Big Red for giving me the opportunity to qualify their car - I was able to go fast right from the start, despite not having a lot of practice and that was very rewarding for myself. I really enjoyed working with Conquest Racing, and hopefully I can work with them again the future."

Tagliani admitted after failing to make the 33-car field that he had been frustrated not to get his own car into the show, particularly as it had easily shown the sort of pace to qualifying, and thanked Junqueira for his selfless act.

“I want to say 'thank you' to Bruno for being so understanding - and to the team for taking this decision," he insisted, "We have been building this long-term relationship for a while now and I'm more than thrilled to be able to pursue that by taking part in my first Indy 500 - although, obviously, it would have been much sweeter if we would have had both cars in the show, because Bruno and I had fast and identical cars.

"It's pretty much a fluke that I didn't make the field. We just got caught out. You never want to second guess yourself but, if we had to redo things, we probably would do it differently, but now that is in the past. The team has worked so hard all month and they deserve to be here.”


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Indy Racing League. 5 May 2009. Indy 500. Rookie Orientation. Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indianapolis, Indiana USA. Alex Tagliani.
Alex Rossi, Indy 500 [Credit: IndyCar]
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut - KVSH Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory with his son Alex and daughter Emma Sunday, July12, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series race at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Briscoe, Graham Rahal and Alex Tagliani (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Alex Tagliani at IMS (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media.)
Alex Tagliani in action during qualifying for the MAVTV 500 2013 season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
Alex Tagliani during practice for the MAVTV 500 2013 season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media.)
Alex Tagliani during practice in Detroit - Friday, May 31 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Alex Tagliani during practice in Detroit - Friday, May 31 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
In a special presentation on the yard of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 25 2013, team owner Chip Ganassi presents Alex Zanardi with the Reynard 96I/Honda car in which he won at Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca in September 1996. (Photo Credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
In a special presentation on the yard of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 25 2013, team owner Chip Ganassi presents Alex Zanardi with the Reynard 96I/Honda car in which he won at Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca in September 1996. (Photo Credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
In a special presentation on the yard of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 25 2013, team owner Chip Ganassi presents Alex Zanardi with the Reynard 96I/Honda car in which he won at Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca in September 1996. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
In a special presentation on the yard of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 25 2013, team owner Chip Ganassi presents Alex Zanardi with the Reynard 96I/Honda car in which he won at Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca in September 1996. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
In a special presentation on the yard of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 25 2013, team owner Chip Ganassi presents Alex Zanardi with the Reynard 96I/Honda car in which he won at Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca in September 1996. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Alex Tagliani heads out on Pole Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Saturday May 18, 2013. (Picture Credit: Michael Roth for IndyCar Media)
Alex Tagliani on the fifth day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Wednesday May 15, 2013. (Picture Credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Alex Taglinai at Barber Motorsports Park (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Alex Tagliani during practice at St Peterburg, Flodica - March 2013, (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)

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Chris - Unregistered

May 18, 2009 7:20 PM

Guys, whilst it is unfair remember that the team might need to make this decision to make ends meet. I don't know the financial situation of Conquest but it seems pretty important for the team that their sponsors are happy - key sentence here: We've been working with Alex for a long time now and have built our commercial and marketing programme around him.

ac89 - Unregistered

May 18, 2009 1:05 PM

I agree what a disgrace Tagliani has had 2 weeks to get in the show Bruno Turned up this week has had 2 days running and puts it on the grid easily, who would go better in the reace?



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