Thompson International Speedway, Thompson, CT Meet the Champions: Brian Tagg Wins Late Model Title in Rookie Season

Discussion in 'Connecticut Race Tracks' started by Race Results, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. Race Results

    Race Results Administrator Staff Member

    When the Late Models rolled into Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park to kick off the 2015 season there was a familiar face in a new place. Brian Tagg made his return for the first time since 2012 when he drove a Thompson Modified full time. Tagg entered the season as a rookie contender, but by the close of the season he was the victor hoisting the championship trophy.

    For Tagg, racing is in his blood. He’s a third generation driver following in the footsteps of his grandfather who raced on ice and in the coupe modified days. His dad, Tom Tagg won the 1990 Sunoco Modified championship at Thompson. Ironically, that championship came when the speedway celebrated its 50th anniversary season. This season Brian’s Late Model title came as Thompson complete the 75th season.

    Tom Tagg had the comfort of sewing up the championship before heading into the World Series, while Brian held a 7-point lead heading into the final race. When his closest competitor Keith Rocco won his qualifying heat and Tagg was involved in an early incident resulting in a 5th place finish, the advantage was cut to only 3 points. Through it all, dad provided son with encouragement and valuable advice.

    “He told me ‘I know what you are thinking. It’s not easy and there’s a lot of pressure,’ Brian Tagg recalled his father’s words before the final race. “Go out and do what you did all season. Don’t be too defensive or too eager.”

    Tagg won the title in dramatic fashion by passing Jeff Smith in Turn 2 of the final lap to move into 3rd place behind Rocco and seal the deal on his first championship.

    Tagg competed regularly in the Thompson Modified division from 2008-2012 and nearly took home the crown in 2009. That experience coupled with his stint running the American Canadian Tour last season proved to be valuable. However, Tagg attributes much of his success in 2015 to his father’s 22-year driving career.

    “My dad and I have a Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus type of relationship,” said the younger Tagg. “If I tell him the car is tight he can tell how much to adjust just simply by watching the car on the track. My dad’s experience shortened the learning curve for me.”

    Tagg realized the level of competition he was competing against with a class of champions such as Rick Gentes, Glenn Boss, Larry Gelinas, and Keith Rocco all competing in the division. Knowing what he would face as the season progressed he set an obtainable goal of competing in the top-5 and being able to run with the top of class. Little did he know he would come out on top.

    The Tagg family is a close-knit group that bring a raucous group of supporters for every race. What is entrenched deep in that group is the history of a racing family. Today, the race team remains a family operation. Tagg’s grandfather still maintains the car during the week. His Uncle Mike and Aunt Sharon as well as his cousin are all key members of the crew. Tagg grew up going to the Connecticut short tracks, but Thompson was always his home.

    “As a kid you could go right up to the cement wall there and just watch them,” Tagg said. “Coming here all those years and even being carried into victory lane as a kid…Then to be able to drive a car here is an out of body experience.”

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