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March 13, 2014 | By Verizon IndyCar
Alex Tagliani, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race pole sitter and 2009 Rookie of the Year, will join Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing for the 98th Running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
Tagliani, of Quebec, will drive the Honda-powered No. 68 SFHR/RW as a teammate to third-year Verizon IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden.
"It has always been our goal at SFHR to hire talent for credentials, and I am excited to have that opportunity again to include 'Tag' in our Indianapolis 500 line-up alongside Josef," team co-owner and former Verizon IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher said. "Wink (Hartman) has helped us bring the proper individuals together to provide a solidly prepared effort toward success at Indy. We continue to have the support of RW Motorsports founder Steve Weirich for this second program and are looking forward to building on to this second entry even further during the second half of the season."
Opening Day on the 2.5-mile oval for practice is May 11, with qualifications March 18-19. The race is May 25.
"I am very excited about this opportunity with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing for this year's Indy 500," said Tagliani, who has a best finish of 10th after starting fifth the 2010 Indy 500. "I love this race, and this track has always been a comfortable fit for me. I couldn't ask for a better opportunity with SFHR, and I will do my best to contribute to the success of the team.
"I need to really thank Sarah and Wink for this chance to go back to Indianapolis to win this race. This has the potential to develop into a longer association because I really love what this team is about. You couldn't ask for a better team to attack the '500.' They have the ability to surprise a lot of people. I'm looking forward to working with Josef and trying to help SFHR win the big one."
Tagliani has made 201 Indy car starts since 2000, with one victory and 101 top-10 finishes. Last season, he competed in 14 races with Bryan Herta Autosport and Target Chip Ganassi Racing (as the replacement driver for the injured Dario Franchitti in the season finale at Auto Club Speedway). He posted a best finish of 10th at St. Petersburg and Toronto 2, and had a best qualifying effort of sixth at Belle Isle 1. Tagliani is competing in the 12 Hours of Sebring this weekend.
"SFHR is thrilled to welcome Alex to our second seat at Indianapolis for the '500,' " Hartman said. "We are excited to bring a seasoned veteran to our program who has demonstrated his capabilities at the Speedway. As a whole, we are committed to elevating the entirety of our team and are confident this is a step in the right direction. As we start our partnership at the Indy 500, the idea is to hopefully add additional races to Alex's entry for the second half of the season."
The team made three Verizon IndyCar Series starts in its first season (2008) and expanded to six races the next season and 15 races and two cars at select races in 2010. It was in December 2011 that Hartman joined as co-owner and Newgarden, the '11 Firestone Indy Lights champion, was named as driver of the No. 67 car for the 2012 season. Newgarden recorded four top-five finishes in 19 races last season, with a career-high second after qualifying a career-best fifth at Baltimore.