Alex Tagliani predicts more crashes

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Alex Tagliani says anyone who was surprised by the demolition derby at the Toronto IndyCar race can expect more of the same in the open-wheel circuit's next stop.

The Canadian predicts that the long straightaway into the 90-degree Turn 1 at Edmonton's new airport track will guarantee more crashes unless IndyCar modifies the controversial double-file restarts.

"In Edmonton, I expect multiple wrecks out here," Tagliani said Tuesday in Edmonton, where the recent closure of one runway, the first step in the eventual shutdown of the entire facility, forced organizers to redraw the circuit. Drivers will now navigate 13 turns, going counter-clockwise on a 2.3-mile course.

The double-file restarts are new in IndyCar this year and have garnered plenty of criticism from drivers, many of whom prefer the previous system of single-file restarts following a full-course caution.

Lining up two-by-two has created more excitement and passing on the restarts, but also has led to more crashes, including the accidents that knocked out about a quarter of the field in Toronto on Sunday.

Tagliani said the double-file restarts give drivers at the back of the field a false sense of advantage that prompts them to take risks.

"When you pack us up and have marbles on the race track, we create so much turbulence, the guy in P8 has a big, big draft and feels like he's 10 miles an hour quicker and can make it all up in one corner -- and you have wrecks."

Dario Franchitti avoided the pileups Sunday to win on the road course at Exhibition Place, beating Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon to extend his lead in the standings in a race that featured a lot of crashing, cussing, and fist-waving.

One of the most vocal drivers was Will Power, the Australian who for a second season in a row has seen an early lead in the points get eaten up in another relentless championship march by Franchitti.

Power and Franchitti banged into each other fighting for the same piece of real estate more than halfway through the Toronto race, causing Power to stall out. He later accused Franchitti of "dirty" racing and had some harsh words for Tagliani, who put him into the wall with 19 laps to go in the 85-lap race.

Tagliani said he and Power are close off the track, there's no hard feelings, and that the crash occurred because Power thought Tagliani was a Penske teammate -- Ryan Briscoe -- and therefore wasn't expecting him to vie for position.

In 2010, Power jumped out to a hot start but slowly saw his lead over Franchitti melt away and then disappear altogether when he wrecked and had to pull out early from the final race in Miami. Franchitti stayed out of trouble, finishing eighth to collect his third overall championship.

Power started this season with four consecutive poles and two wins, but has since slipped to second place with 298 points, 55 behind Franchitti.

Power has lately been calling out not only opponents but also fellow team members.

In Iowa last month, a fifth-place start collapsed into a 21st-place finish when a Penske crew mistake sent Power roaring out of pit lane right into Charlie Kimball, T-boning the rookie, as he pulled in.

"We're always screwing ourselves in the pits," Power said at the time. "We've got to fix our pit things."

Tagliani said he told Power to stop gripping the steering wheel so tightly.

"I told him, 'Look, you just have to get back into the mode where you drive because you like driving, and stop thinking about winning the championship,' " Tagliani said.

"When he's on the pole, he thinks he should be able to come out with maximum points. But when the race doesn't go as planned, it gets to him very quickly."