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Tagliani takes Indy 500 rookie honours.


Alex Tagliani capped a stressful month at Indianapolis by emerging from the 93rd running of the 500 with rookie of the year honours and an eleventh place finish.

The Canadian wasn't even in the race after qualifying had concluded with Bump Day, but repaid Conquest racing boss Eric Bachelart's decision to place him the sister car qualified by Bruno Junqueira by coming through the field and claiming the title of best newcomer to the 500.

Whether Tagliani technically qualifies as a true 'rookie', given his extensive open-wheel experience, or deserved the newcomer's honours after Raphael Matos strong run ended in the barriers with Vitor Meira will provide talking points for the rest of the season, but the Canadian was delighted to leave the Brickyard with something to show for his efforts and those of the Conquest crew.

His eleventh place was Conquest's best result at Indianapolis, and the culmination of a rise from 33rd and last as the field rolled off. Undoubtedly aided by the number of retirements - including Matos, who appeared to be on course for a possible top six finish at one point - Tagliani succeeded in keeping the #36 off the walls as he claimed no fewer than 22 scalps on track and in the pits.

“Our day was pretty simple, we just tried to make no mistakes and stay out of trouble and continue to make up ground toward the front," he admitted, "We also tried not to make any mistakes in the pits and that's exactly what we did - the team did a fantastic job and they did really great on the pit-stops.

"Slowly but surely we made our way to the front, and kept leap-frogging other drivers so we got ourselves into P11. It was a really great job and a team effort. I'm very happy for All Sport, Big Red, Rexall Edmonton Indy, King Tut and everybody that helped us this month. To finish this month in front of all of these people is what it's all about.

"I'm very, very happy that I had a chance to participate in this race, but it was unfortunate that we started so far back and had to put quite a bit of downforce on the car because, in the last stint, I felt like maybe a degree less on the rear wing and we would have been able to compete inside the top ten. The car was really, really good, so I guess the consolation was to just win that rookie of the year trophy and show that the team is not only good on road courses, but is also pretty good on ovals now too."


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Alex Tagliani took 2009 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year with Conquest Racing   [pic credit: IRL/Garrett]
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)
Arie Luyendyk chats with Stefano Coletti during his Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Stefano Coletti exits his pit box for Rookie Orientation Program (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Team Owner Jimmy Vasser chats with Stefano Coletti before his Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
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.)
Mikhail Aleshin prepares for Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth prepares for this Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti prepares for test laps (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Kurt Busch checks gauges prior to track activity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Sponsor Brantley Gilbert and Indy Lights champion Sage Karam prior to restarting Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Martin Plowman prepares for Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Huertas on course during Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin on course during Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Kurt Busch crosses the yard of bricks during Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Martin Plowman during ROP (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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