No. 12 Hot Wheels Dodge Challenger News and Notes
• Alex Tagliani, driver of the No. 12 Hot Wheels Dodge Challenger, will make his first start of the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) season on Saturday afternoon in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. Race coverage will begin at 2:30 pm ET on ESPN and action will be heard live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius Channel 90.
• This weekend's event will mark Tagliani's third Nationwide Series start since 2009.
• This will serve as the first race together for Tagliani, the 2009 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year and 2011 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter, and crew chief Chad Walter. This is also the first race for Tagliani with Penske Racing.
• Tagliani will make his first start of the 2011 NNS season in Penske Racing chassis No. 218. Saturday will mark his third NNS start in a Dodge.
• Tagliani will make his first NNS start at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend. He has had previous success in the CART series at the track with one pole and four top-10 starts along with a best finish of fourth in 2003. He has also had one pole and two top-five starts in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (NCATS) at Montreal. He will be making his fourth start in the (NCATS) this weekend.
• Born and raised in Montreal, Tagliani considers Circuit Gilles Villeneuve his home track.
• Tagliani will be very busy during the week leading up to the NAPA Auto Parts 200. He will be participating in the following events throughout the week....
o The "Quebec Stars" autograph session on Thursday, August 18 from 1-2 pm ET in the infield at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
o Tagliani, along with Mattel, will unveil the custom designed No. 12 Hot Wheels Dodge Challenger to the media in the garage area on Thursday, August 18 from 2:30-3:30 pm ET
o Also on Thursday, August 18 from 6:45-7:15 pm ET, Tagliani will participate in the Octane Race Fan Event with CKAC located at Les 3 Brasseurs, followed by the Sennheiser Autograph Session at Future Shop from 7:30-8:30 pm ET
o He will sign autographs at the Dodge Display area in the "Center of the Island" on Friday, August 19 from 12:45-1:30 pm ET
o Following race day, on Sunday, August 21, he will sign for fans at the Toys R Us store, located at 460 Ste-Catherine Ouest, from 1-1:30 pm ETAlex Tagliani's comments on this weekend's NAPA Auto Parts 200
"Having the chance to run with such a great team that has a strong history of success in every series they've ever run in, combined with racing on my home track at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, is a great opportunity and honor. The chance to take part in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race with Penske Racing came about because of a great and long relationship with Dodge and the additional support of Hot Wheels as a sponsor. I hope to make them all proud. This race will be a huge challenge for me but with the help of my crew chief Chad Walter, I should be very well prepared for the task at hand. Running with my teammate, Jacques Villeneuve, in the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger and me in the No.12 Hot Wheels Dodge Challenger, we will no doubt have a very strong team and the support of our hometown racing fans. Hopefully we can pull off a very positive result."
Crew Chief, Chad Walter's comments on this weekend's NAPA Auto Parts 200
"Penske Racing has enjoyed a long history of road racing success, so I am looking forward to the race at Montreal with Alex Tagliani, a hometown product. At the end of the day, road racing requires a complete package to be successful - the aerodynamics, power, setup and gearing all have to be in sync. There is a special emphasis on brakes at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as well. The single most important factor this weekend will come down to the driver's skill set and Alex has proven to be very quick in the No. 12 Hot Wheels Dodge Challenger. Montreal is a beautiful city, with a first class racing facility, so I look forward to being competitive and ending the afternoon in Victory Lane."