Alex Tagliani at Long Beach - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
Bryan Herta Autosport won the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500, was the official test team for the new Dallara chassis with their Indy 500-winner Dan Wheldon, and intended to race in 2012 with Lotus power and 2011 Indy pole-sitter Alex Tagliani at the wheel.
It's been anything but easy for Team Barracuda-BHA since the season began.
Like every other Lotus team there was the wait for engines and, at the first race, the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg, their engine was removed and "rebuilt" on Thursday, Tagliani qualified 17th and was running in 15th at the close, after several pit stops.
Barber the next week was a total mess for the team as they failed to make a single lap before the engine expired; Tagliani had qualified 23rd of 26 cars; he finished 26th.
Last weekend at Long Beach Tagliani started 10th, thanks to the unusual grid positions when all 11 Chevrolet runners changed engines, but experienced another engine malfunction with unusually high temperatures--right from the start. Once back on track he was hit by EJ Viso and, long story short, the high engine temps stopped the team from proceeding further--the result was another poor finish, 21st.
With INDYCAR participants preparing to ship cars to Sao Paulo for next weekend's street race, the team had to decide what to do. After not finishing the last two races and falling out of the top 22 in points, Team Barracuda-BHA "has elected not to send our cars to Brazil next weekend," the team said.
"Instead we will refocus on the Indy 500 and coming back stronger than ever. Big thanks to our sponsors and fans for their unwavering support… bring on the 500," declared the defending winners of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
Team co-owner Bryan Herta added this on Twitter: "Wow, thanks for all the positive support. We @BHA hate missing any race but this will help to be stronger for Indy and rest of year."
Tagliani has said all along the team needed both live testing and simulation work to help them overcome the lack of pre-season testing with their Lotus engine. Lotus missed the vital Indianapolis test earlier this month (all engines were sent back to the UK) and had a single day with the Lotus test car--not their own--at Texas. It's simply not been enough.