TROIS-RIVIERES, QC – Alex Tagliani loves coming to the Grand Prix Trois Rivieres. Despite it taking Tagliani a few years to figure out the historic street circuit, once he finally won in 2017 he has been unstoppable.
Tagliani has been a force be reckoned with all season on the road courses, winning his first race of the season in July at the Honda Indy Toronto. Road courses – and especially street courses – have been something Tagliani has loved dating back as far as his Champ Car days.
“I love all the tracks. But you know, the road courses are definitely my passion,” Tagliani said. “Having a good car also helps because I didn’t have a good car on road courses back in 2015, and I didn’t enjoy it as much.
“It takes a complete package. Especially this weekend, the 50th anniversary, and I’m going to make sure that I enjoy every second of it.”
With the Grand Prix celebrating it’s 50th year of operation, Tagliani has the chance to accomplish something incredible – scoring the first GP3R threepeat in nearly 10 years, as well as winning the golden anniversary race.
“It’s a bit emotional even talking about it,” Tagliani said. “I won in Atlantic there and then I won there in NASCAR but now we’re talking about the third in a row, I would love it.
“To be there with my family and friends and sponsors, and to absorb the fact that we’re in this place, it’s very unique and so special to me,” Tagliani added. “If we can win three in a row, it will just complete an amazing run, and especially on the 50th, which would mean a lot to me.”
The anniversary race has given Tagliani a chance to look back on his long and storied racing career. From his debut in Champ Car Atlantic, to sitting on the Indianapolis 500 pole in 2011, to making the jump to NASCAR many years ago.
Tagliani isn’t done yet, he is far from done.
He announced earlier in the week he will race the No.51 CanTorque Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports at the Chevy Silverado 250 at CTMP immediately following the Pinty’s race. This gives Tagliani perhaps his best chance to win for the first time in a NASCAR national series.
“I’ve worked so much in NASCAR to try to win one of those big races, been really close in XFINITY multiple times,” Tagliani said. “In Trucks we were in a position to win in 2015 (for Brad Keselowski Racing), when I was running right behind Erik Jones, on the way to the finish after we took the white flag and I broke third gear.”
“I’m in a competitive truck with a top team and I hope that I’ll be able to get that very elusive win, especially in Canada,” Tagliani added.
The Lachanaie, Quebec native is hoping a win at GP3R can help launch a push at the championship. The No.18 RONA/EpiPen team is currently fourth in the standings, 44 points behind Andrew Ranger, with six races remaining.
“If we can win the next few road courses that we have and start bringing some pressure by being competitive on ovals, we’re at a point where everything is possible,” Tagliani said. “There are 280 points to grab from now on and, and we need to be there to try to grab it all.
“And that’s the way I’m going to drive from now on.”
NEWS AND NOTES
50 years at GP3R and 50 years for the Dumoulin Family
Golden anniversaries are aplenty in Trois Rivieres. In addition to the track’s celebration, 2019 also marks the 50th anniversary for the Dumoulin family’s racing career. Two-time series champ LP Dumoulin and brother JF Dumoulin will bring a field of four cars to Les 50 Tours Hotel Le Concorde, as they are joined by JF Lebarge and youngster Rafael Lessard. LP won at GP3R in 2014 and looks to keep the momentum from a successful Western Swing. JF is looking to score his first win after coming close one year ago. Regardless of the finishes, the Dumoulin will have plenty to celebrate come August 11.
Ranger looking to run away with 2019 season
Following a dusting of the field out west, Andrew Ranger comes into GP3R with redemption in mind. Having his streak of consecutive top two finishes snapped last year, Ranger knows he needs a strong run to beat points rival Kevin Lacroix. Ranger has a 16-point gap over the Lacroix, a good win at GP3R would further cement Ranger as the favourite for his third title.
Quebec Power at Trois-Rivieres
The Quebecois driver have been strong this year at GP3R. In 12 runnings, an Ontario based driver has only tasted victory once, in 2012 with D.J Kennington. With nearly three-quarters of the field based out of Quebec, look for the hometown boys to come out swinging in NASCAR’s most prestigious race in the province.