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Alex Tagliani jokes with his crew at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal in this 2012 file photo. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Alex Tagliani jokes with his crew at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal in this 2012 file photo. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Motorsports

Alex Tagliani has learned valuable lessons in 25 years of racing Add to ...

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After more than 25 years of racing, Alex Tagliani is finally in the driver's seat when it comes to his career and he couldn't be happier.

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He's racing when he wants, where he wants and for the teams he wants, and he won't be handing over any more cash to secure a ride. It all happened after he made a conscious decision to make a career rather than live a dream.

So far this year, Tagliani has he raced in NASCAR Nationwide events, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and Prototype Challenge class in the United Sports Car Championship.

"I should have done it many years ago," Tagliani said.

"I was focusing on my IndyCar career and I was like a racehorse. Now, I am focusing on my business career and doing what I do best: driving. It's not regularly in one series but I try to make the most of it everywhere I am. It works really well, I'm enjoying it, it makes me happy and I'm making money."

He's also getting more personal with the names appearing on his car. This year, Tagliani's NASCAR Canadian Tire car carries the EpiPen name and he's been using the season to help raise funds for his charity of choice, Anaphylaxis Canada. Tagliani suffers from severe nut allergies.

The 40-year-old from Lachenaie, Que., made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), and got off to a memorable start when he put his No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing truck on pole but throttle problems ruined his race and he finished 16th in the Chevy Silverado 250.

Also racing in the trucks was Calgary teen Cameron Hayley who races in the NASCAR ladder K&N Pro Series East Series. He ended his first NASCAR truck race in a respectable 11th. Scott Hargrove, of Surrey, B.C., who finished second overall in the Pro Mazda Series championship after a heartbreaking mechanical failure in the season final handed the tile to another driver, took the 2014 Ultra94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge title on Sunday. Both are looking to raise big budgets to race in 2015, with Hargrove needing to raise upwards of $750,000 for an Indy Lights program, while Hayley probably has to come up with at least double that to move up to NASCAR trucks.

While he doesn't want to tell young drivers what to do, those coming up through the ranks should listen to Tagliani's message about spending money to go racing.

"I've been there, I've cried, I've done all kinds of things. My wife [Bronte] has seen big highs and lows — I have pumped millions of dollars into teams that could not even help me with passes [to bring guests to races]," he said.

"It's up to you to decide what is best for you. I don't know what the right thing to do is, but you have to look at it from both sides: You have the team owners who want to stay in business and make money and if you show them you have money, they will take it and once you don't have any more, they'll look at the next one coming with the money."

Random Thoughts: With the NASCAR truck series gone, the stage at CTMP switches to the final races in the 2014 Toyo Tires F1600 season in two weeks as its field of young Canadian talent race for the last time this year.

Although all the drivers need to show speed and find success on the track to get ahead, most also understand that they also need to differentiate themselves from the crowd to attract attention out of the car.

That order was pretty easy for Chase Pelletier to fill. Although he doesn't wake up every morning happy that he has Type 1 diabetes, he also knows that he wouldn't be racing if he didn't have the disease. His main backer, Animas, makes the insulin pump he uses.

"I help them and they help me with my racing", said Pelletier who won the F1600 Super Series title earlier this season and hopes to use that success will help him land a racing seat in the U.S. next year.

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