Owen Kelly: Please Kyle, don’t come to Montreal

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JUST DRIVE, BABY: Alex Tagliani seems like the French Canadian version of Tony Stewart. He just has to be in a car somewhere all the time.

Tagliani, a regular driver for Team Barracuda in the IZOD IndyCar series, was supposed to be in China this weekend, but the event was canceled in late June. So the veteran from Lachenaie, Quebec, will drive the No. 30 Chevrolet on Saturday in the NAPA 200 at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

That’s not all.

Before the Nationwide race, Tagliani will drive for Starworks Motorsport, which is coming off a 1-2 finish at Watkins Glen in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. He’ll start the No. 8 Ford/Riley Daytona Prototype of Scotsman Ryan Dalziel, then hop out and co-drive the No. 2 Ford/Riley with Alex Popow. Sebastian Bourdais would have been in the No. 2, but he wasn’t able to make it to Montreal because he’s testing at Sonoma in IndyCar.

Dalziel and Lucas Luhr and Bourdais and Popow finished 1-2 last week at Watkins Glen International, moving Dalziel within six points of defending DP champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas with three races remaining in the season. Bourdais and Popow won the previous race at Indianapolis.

Drivers in the series may be entered in more than one car in a race, but that driver must qualify and start in one of the cars and is only awarded points for the first car driven.

Tagliani, who topped Thursday’s final practice, qualified third in the No. 8 on Friday, then won pole position for the Nationwide race.

He has an ulterior motive. He’s hoping to land a ride in the Rolex 24-hour endurance race at Daytona International Speedway, which kicks off every season in the series.

“I really wanted to take it (the DP ride). I knew it was going to be very busy,” said Tagliani, who will do a short stint in the car and finish the race in the No. 2. “I really want to do the 24 and every single time I called a team to do it I just didn’t have the experience in the car, so they were reluctant to put you in the car for a very important race.”

As for going from the sleek Daytona Prototypes and their monster brakes to a Nationwide car on Saturday, Tagliani had one thing on his mind.

“Don’t forget what car you’re driving,” he said with a laugh.


ANOTHER POLE FOR FOGARTY: Jon Fogarty won the pole in Daytona Prototype for Saturday’s Montreal 200 in the Grand-Am Rolex Series.

Fogarty, who will co-drive with Alex Gurney in the two-hour race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, clocked a fast lap of 104.712 mph (1 minute, 33.135 seconds) on the 2.7-mile road course in the No. 99 Bob Stallings Racing Corvette. The pole was the 23rd of Fogarty’s career, extending his all-time series record.

Memo Rojas qualified second in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley despite spinning out. Hometown favorite Alex Tagliani, driving in the class for the first time, qualified third in the No. 2 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley.

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