Chip Ganassi Racing’s Mike Hull is confident that Alex Tagliani will be able to step up in support of Scott Dixon’s championship bid in this weekend’s IndyCar finale at Fontana.
Tagliani, who became available after standing down from his Bryan Herta Autosport seat two months ago, has been drafted in to replace the injured Dario Franchitti. With Dixon going into the weekend 25 points ahead of title rival Helio Castroneves, Chip Ganassi Racing managing director said that he believed Tagliani’s oval experience would reinforce the New Zealander’s hand.
“[Tagliani’s arrival] does change the team dynamic a bit, simply because he’s a different person,” Hull said. “But what he has in common with Dario is the fact that he’s an amazing race driver and he’s proven over and over again how special he is on an oval.
“I don’t know if it’s plug-and-play necessarily, but a lot of the success that teams like Penske Racing and Ganassi Racing have is because of that teamwork element, and that teamwork element gives you the information to help the other teammates on and off the racetrack. With Alex, that’s exactly what we expect to achieve.”
Penske team president Tim Cindric said that while his team regretted not having the opportunity to fight Franchitti in the final race, he did not expect Tagliani to make life any easier for Castroneves.
“Obviously it’s a difficult circumstance there, and we wish the best for Dario and quite honestly wish Dario were in that car because that’s where he deserves to be,” he said. “But Alex is certainly up to the task, and I think he’ll surprise some people when he’s in the equipment that they’re going to give him there.
“I think they made a great choice for who to put in that seat.”