THOMPSON, CT (Oct. 7, 2015) There’s a saying in racing that you have to lose one before you can win one. 2009 was Brian Tagg’s sophomore season in what was the Thompson Modified division where he was in the middle of the championship chase. Inexperience resulted in him falling short then, but now he holds a 7-point edge over Keith Rocco in the late model division with one race remaining. It will all be settled on Friday night during the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP).
Tagg grew up going to the races watching his dad Tom Tagg race before getting behind the wheel himself. The first car Brian raced was a powerful Sunoco Modified before making the transition to Thompson Modifieds in 2008. After 5 years in the division the team decided to take a year off and then redirected their efforts to focus on the American-Canadian (ACT) in 2014.
He completed a partial scheduled skipping only the races run in Canada. For Tagg, the experience he gained has made the difference in his rookie season competing in a late model at Thompson.
“When we went to Thompson for the Icebreaker, it made it a little easier because you have more room to race compared some tracks on the ACT circuit,” said Tagg. “I matured as a driver and knowing that if I start 20th I could still work my way to the front.”
Early in the year Tagg was lined up for a restart when the car in front of him missed a shift forcing him to lose several positions. His ACT experience allowed him to maintain his cool, be smart, and methodically work through the field. He hasn’t finished worse than 8th all season and that was during his late model debut at the Icebreaker. The rest of the finishes have been Top-5 performances including one victory.
The entire team grew through the experience as they learned the tendencies of a late model stock car for the first time. His dad spends 4 hours of meticulous preparation in advance of each race tweaking the setup.
Tagg has one of the most loyal group of supporters in attendance every time he races. Known as the “Taggettes,” or “Tagg Heads” depending on who you ask, a regular group of 15-20 fans position themselves on the turn 4 side of the start finish line in the main grandstand for every race. For the season finale, that number is expected to increase.
“I used to let the cheering section get to me a lot; I would let the pressure get to me,” Tagg said. “I don’t know if its me getting older, but I know they will support me no matter what happens and now I can keep the pressure off myself.”
Regardless of the outcome in the championship, a season will be celebrated with a feast at the Tagg camper in the parking lot. They just hope the championship trophy accepts their invitation to the party.
-Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Press Release. Photo credit: Clarus Studios