Alex Tagliani wins XFINITY pole at Road America
RELATED: Starting lineup Alex Tagliani won the Coors Light Pole Award at Road America on Friday in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Tagliani wheeled his No. 22 Team Penske Ford around the 4.05-mile road course at a top speed of 109.866 mph. That was better than Michael McDowell l, who finished second in his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at 109.561 mph. For Tagliani , it was his fourth pole win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and his second at Road America . Justin Marks (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet), Owen Kelly (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) and Daniel Suarez (No. 19 JGR Toyota) rounded out the top five qualifiers. Alon Day, who hails from Israel, is a NASCAR Next driver and is driving the MBM Motorsports No. 13 Dodge, found trouble in Round 1 of qualifying when he went into the sand trap off Turn 12 (of 14) with just over 16 minutes remaining in the opening session. The incident brought out a red flag. Another red flag came out during Round 1 when Josh Bilicki, who was driving the No. 77 Obaika Racing Chevrolet, spun coming off Turn 1, slid through the sand trap and impacted the tire barrier. The Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville gets underway at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and marks the third road-course race in four events for the series.
Irked Tagliani after Road America spin: 'Everything goes'
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Alex Tagliani has made a handful of NASCAR starts across the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series over the past several years, remaining winless despite often, if not always, looking like the man to beat. Being the accomplished road course ace that he is -- along with the horsepower and backing from Team Penske / Brad Keselowski Racing that he's enjoyed since 2014 -- you can typically count on the 42-year-old to start up front, and stay there. A third career Coors Light Pole for Saturday's Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America -- in just his eighth XFINITY start -- once again put Tagliani in prime position to compete for his first NASCAR national series victory, but once again he came up short. For the second consecutive year, his sole XFINITY start was foiled by contact from the eventual race winner. Last year it was Regan Smith at Mid-Ohio; Michael McDowell was Saturday's culprit. With 17 laps remaining in the 48-lap event (extended three laps by overtime), Tagliani -- who'd led a dominating 17 laps already at that point -- retook the lead from Erik Jones , only to be spun after left-rear contact from the No. 2 of McDowell in Turn 5. He was relegated to 30th place after the contact, having to battle back to salvage a seventh-place finish. "I could basically say what I want to say, but I don’t know if it's going to matter at the end," Tagliani told NASCAR.com on pit road following the race. "I think the 2 realized that we were the car to beat and it's unfortunate he presents himself to take us out, and he did it to take away some competition from him. In those instances, I'm a firm believer that you have to resist the temptation of doing it, but it seems in this world, in this series, in this sport, everything goes. "I think I should try to play smarter and drive him that way. At that time, instead of trying to fight clean with the 2 and give him a hard time and try to be creative and try to go around me, I should've let him go by and do what he did to me and take away the competition. It crossed my mind, but I said 'Walk, man.' Because other than the 2, there was nobody else that could touch us. After what I saw, I should've. Should've, could've, but it's not the way you win races." Looking at the replay, it's tough to tell whether or not McDowell should've lifted, or Tagliani shouldn't have dove into the corner, but it was evident neither driver was willing to budge. Particularly after some prior in-race contact between the two. Regardless, McDowell -- while implying in his post-race press conference that he was in a bit of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation -- stands by his declaration that the spin was not intentional. "No, it wasn't intentional; I wasn't intentionally doing it, but at the same time I was clearly in there and I wasn't really sure what he was doing when he came across the nose … " the Richard Childress Racing driver said. "… I don't know. I didn't see the replay yet. The 22 and I had a little run-in earlier in the race and basically I kept putting my nose in and he kept slamming the door. He went wide in Turn 5 and I got underneath the 42 ( Justin Marks ) and 22 and I was alongside of him and he decided just to turn in. Once we made contact, I just came off the brake and pushed him out of the way. The reason I did that is because had I not, I would've been stuck there, too, and I would've gotten ran over. Once he committed to turn in and I was on the inside, we already made the contact. "But I haven't seen a replay. A lot of times, I watch the replay and I go, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was right.' And a lot of times I go, 'Oh, gosh … ' I hope it's not an 'Oh, gosh' moment. But by no means did I come out of Turn 5 and be like 'Here's my shot. I'm going to wipe him out.' That wasn't the case at all. I got a run and went underneath him and when he slammed his door, I wasn't expecting him to slam the door." McDowell now heads to Michigan International Speedway , where he will race in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race.
Tagliani spins while battling for the lead
Alex Tagliani and Michael McDowell make contact while battling for the lead at Road America sending Tagliani spinning.
Alex Tagliani wins pole at Canada
RELATED: Full lineup for Sunday's race Wheeling the No. 29 BK Racing Ford at 110.539 mph in a second-lap attempt, road course veteran Alex Tagliani earned the Keystone Light Pole Award at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Saturday's two-round qualifying session. The Quebec native and road course veteran shattered the previous track record with a 80.084-second lap around the track. This marks Tagliani's first Camping World Truck Series start of 2015 and his second consecutive pole win in this event. Tagliani's late run took the top spot away from Erik Jones , who settled for second with a fastest lap of 110.492 mph in his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. Reigning series champion Matt Crafton (110.113 mph), BKR's Tyler Reddick (110.002 mph) and JR Motorsports' Cole Custer (109.777 mph) rounded out the top five. Reddick led the first round, propelling his No. 19 Ford at 110.276 mph, while teammate Tagliani drafted with him. Robert Mitten brought out the red flag in the first round of qualifying when he smacked the tire wall off Turn 8, leaving his No. 53 Dodge nearly vertical. Mitten climbed out unharmed and ultimately secured a 22nd-place starting position. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is back on track Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET for the Chevrolet Silverado 250 (FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM).
Alex Tagliani wins Keystone Light Pole Award
Driver sets new track record at Canadian road course Related: See the full race lineup BOWMANVILLE, ONTARIO -- Alex Tagliani won the Keystone Light Pole Award at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with a track-record lap of 80.558 seconds (109.889 mph), and will make his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at the front of the field Sunday. Tagliani , who competes in IndyCar and the Canadian Tire Series, has one other start at the track, a 2008 Canadian Tire Series event in which he started 10th and finished fifth. Rookie Gray Gaulding , driver of the No. 20 NTS Motorsports Chevrolet, will start alongside him. Gaulding's 80.991-second lap was just shy of the pole. Erik Jones will start third, with German Quiroga and Cole Custer starting fourth and fifth. Tagliani waited until less than half of the 30-minute first round of qualifying remained before laying down the round's top speed, a lap of 108.906 mph around the 2.459-mile track. Brennan Newberry , driver of the No. 9 NTS Motorsports Chevrolet, was the first driver who did not advance to the final session as the 13th-place finisher. Several drivers struggled to keep their trucks on course. Joey Coulter drove straight into a barrier in his Allegiant Travel Chevrolet, but the displaced tires seemed to have prevented serious damage to the No. 21. Jones took the No. 51 Toyota slightly off track in the first round of qualifying but did not appear to have sustained any damage to his Toyota Tundra. Ryan Blaney also had to fight to keep his truck on asphalt after getting sideways. Eighth-place qualifier Matt Crafton had a similar incident on his last run after making a pass. The Chevrolet Silverado 250 is scheduled for Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET, with coverage on FOX Sports 1 and MRN. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Alex Tagliani to pilot No. 22 on road courses
Tagliani's first Nationwide appearance this season will be June 21 at Road America
Custer spins after contact with Tagliani
Cole Custer spins late in the race after making contact with Alex Tagliani as the two were fighting for the second position.
Tagliani runs out of gas while leading
Alex Tagliani runs out of gas under caution while leading in the Gardner Denver 200 at Road America.
Tagliani , Elliott exchange words post-race
Drivers seemed civil after contact, but had differing opinions of the final laps
Elliott: Hendrick's recent surge a group effort
RELATED: Dover on-track schedule " Chase Grid DOVER, Del. -- Chase Elliott 's average finish during the six-race stretch from Sonoma in late June to early August at Pocono was a sour 27.67. His past six races? 10.3. The Hendrick Motorsports rookie certainly appears to be over his summer slump. "I was really proud of the way we ran last weekend," Elliott said Friday at Dover International Speedway . "We ran inside the top five the majority of the day. That was a huge improvement for our group. Loudon is a terrible race track for me, so I was really happy with just the fact that we were able to be kind of in that group." Still in his freshman year in the Sprint Cup Series, this marks 20-year-old Elliott's first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup appearance. He's joined in the 16-car playoffs by teammate Jimmie Johnson , who has been a part of each Chase since its inaugural run in 2004. Like Elliott, Johnson's No. 48 team also struggled throughout the summer, but appears to be back to its form of running in the top bracket. Even the non-Chase cars of Kasey Kahne (No. 5) and Alex Bowman (No. 88), fill-in driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr ., have shown speed in recent weeks. The teamwide improvements beg the question: Has the Hendrick Motorsports organization found something in time for the Chase? Elliott thinks it's bigger than that. "I know that our engine department has been working really hard," Elliott said. "I think that you see their improvements across the board, not just Hendrick cars, but I have a lot of respect for Mr. (Rick) Hendrick and everybody at the engine shop for making their engine program so fair … I think when you see an improvement in the engine shop you are going to see that across the board and I think we've seen that the past couple of weeks. I think there is definitely something there." The No. 24 shop individually has also done its part to put together the jigsaw that seemed to puzzle the Hendrick group in the summer weeks leading up to the Chase. "I know Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and our group has been pushing really hard on that front trying to improve, trying to get the best stuff we can get pumped out of the shop and to the race track," Elliott said. "I think it's a little bit of both to be honest with you and I think we are moving in the right direction on some items that I think we’ve been missing. That is encouraging to me." An encouraged Elliott has elevated his team to ninth of 16 on the Chase Grid, 16 points ahead of the cutoff line. Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) marks the first elimination race of the season that will narrow the field from 16 to 12. Based on recent trends, Elliott's chances at advancing to the next round are strong, provided he's able to tame the Monster Mile, a track where he finished third in May. And from there, the rookie could go all the way to the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "I 100 percent think our group or Jimmie's group could make it," Elliott said on the possibility. "I feel confident in that. I think we've been fast enough these first two weeks to do it, but obviously you have to have some things go your way throughout this deal and you've got to execute your races and try to stay mistake free."