IndyCar veteran Alex Tagliani will drive the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang for Team Penske in two NASCAR Nationwide Series road course races this season. Tagliani will compete for the team in the June 21 event at Road America and again on Aug. 16 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The No. 22 Discount Tire Ford won at both Road America and Mid-Ohio last season with AJ Allmendinger behind the wheel.
“This is a great opportunity to get back in a NASCAR Nationwide Series car and to do it for one of the best teams in the series and one of the greatest owners the sport has ever seen – Roger Penske,” said Tagliani. “I’ve been able to run for ‘The Captain’ one other time in my career in a stock car and we were so close to winning the race. This gives me two great chances to get my first Nationwide Series win. And with the team winning both of these races last year, I guess you could say the pressure is on me to get the job done this season.”
Montreal native Tagliani has made four NNS starts over the course of his racing career, which has included memorable performances in Indy cars sports cars, V8 Supercars and several other forms of motorsports. He made two NNS starts in 2009, and competed in one series race in both 2011 and ’12. In 2011, Tagliani drove the No. 12 car for Team Penske in his home race at Montreal, where he started second and finished second after leading 11 laps. Tagliani has also won in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
“I have known Alex for a long time and he has driven for our team before, so he was the ideal choice to race the Discount Tire Ford for these upcoming road course events,” said Roger Penske. “Alex is a proven winner in both open-wheel and stock car competition. He has competed for wins each of the last two times he has raced in the Nationwide Series, including with Team Penske back in 2011. I think he, (crew chief) Jeremy Bullins and the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford team will be tough to beat at both Road America and Mid-Ohio this season.”
The No. 22 Discount Tire Ford team enjoyed a phenomenal 2013 season, winning 12 races with four different drivers en route to capturing the Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship. The team has already won once this season (with Brad Keselowski at Las Vegas) and has earned six top-five and eight top-10 finishes in eight races thus far in 2014.
“Whenever we can add someone with the racing resume of Alex to our long list of Discount Tire drivers, we are more than excited,” said Michael Zuieback, president of Discount Tire. “We look forward to watching Team Penske drivers race the Discount Tire Ford and to getting to know Alex even better during the season. If Roger picks a driver to be in our car, we know he’s going to be a top contender.”