It’s been a busy seven days for Canadian racer Alex Tagliani.
As reported on this blog last Thursday, Tagliani has partnered up with Ohio woman Sonja Stockton to establish – with two others – a team to race in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
(An aside: “Tags” went out at Trois-Rivieres on the weekend and not only won the pole for the Canadian Tire race there but set a track record in the process. Not bad, eh?)
Now it’s been revealed that Tagliani has teamed up with two U.S. businessmen/racers to purchase Marty Roth’s equipment to go racing in the Indy Racing League.
Roth, a Toronto racing driver and owner of two IRL cars “ready to go racing,” denied the sale was final when I talked to him this morning – but that’s just splitting hairs. It would appear to be pretty much a done deal.
“Yes, I have accepted a deposit,” Roth said, “but there are still stages to go through. The deal has not closed.”
But Roth said Tagliani, a veteran racer relegated to a part-time Indy car role this year, Jim Fruedenberg of Chicago and a third party (identified by SpeedTV as ex-Derrick Walker engineer and team manager Rob Edwards) have “formed a company and tied it (the cars and equipment) up.”
“As a result, I have taken that stuff off the market,” Roth said, but added there is another party hovering about – just in case something goes wrong and the transaction isn’t completed.
“But I don’t want to say much more,” Roth said. “I don’t want to steal their thunder. It’s not really my announcement to make anyway. It’s not my story – it’s their story.”
Roth said this unidentified “other party” has been trying to purchase his equipment – two cars, pit equipment, transporter and a building/garage in Indianapolis – since last year.
“We were so close to a deal that I entered the two cars for this year’s Indy 500,” Roth said. “I was to be the second driver, but it didn’t work out in the end – although that party is still around in case there’s a problem with this deal later.”
Roth said that once the sale to Tagliani, et al, closes, he’s finished with Indy car racing forever.
“I’m done, I’m out,” he said, suggesting he might eventually feed his need for speed – he was a professional motorcycle racer before going into Indy Lights and then the Indy cars – with a fast-as-lightning speedboat.
Meantime, it’s apparent that Tagliani – unlike a lot of other drivers having trouble picking up rides later in their careers – is not sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.
He is now part-owner of two racing teams and who knows what might be around the next corner?
Arter all, he has always been a self-promoter. If you go to Montreal for the Formula One Grand Prix of Canada, and take a walk along Ste. Catherine St., you will always find a storfront full of Alex Tagliani memorabilia – caps, sunglasses, T-shirts.
I asked him about this once. Did he have a business manager, or advisor, or what?
“It’s me, Norris,” he said. “It’s all me. If I didn’t do it, who would?”