CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Mo Nunn Racing preview

...

#10 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Lola Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland -July 12-14, 2002 - Pre-Race Notes/Quotes Burke Lakefront Airport - Cleveland, Ohio - 2.106-Mile Temporary Road Course Round 9 of 20 on the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series

**Tony Kanaan is in his fifth CART FedEx Championship Series season and his third with Mo Nunn Racing. This weekend's Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland, Presented by U.S. Bank, will be his 83rd career Champ Car start. To date, Kanaan has one win (1999 U.S. 500), two poles (1999 at Long Beach, 2001 at Chicago), four podium finishes, 11 top-fives, and 40 top-10s.

**Kanaan took over Mo Nunn Racing's #10 Pioneer- and WorldCom-sponsored CART entry this season after driving the third-year team's Hollywood-sponsored car in 2000 (Mercedes-Benz Reynard) and 2001 (Honda-powered Reynard).

**Last July here at the Burke Lakefront Airport, Kanaan qualified fifth in the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard but was spun off course in a first-turn incident on race day and never recovered. He finished 16th.

**At last weekend's Molson Indy Toronto, Kanaan qualified 10th and worked his way up to eighth place when, shortly after the second round of pit stops for tires and fuel, he stopped on course on Lap 61 with a fuel pressure problem and did not finish.

**Two weekends ago, at the CART Grand Prix of Chicago, Kanaan qualified fourth and finished eighth despite a problem with the car's on-board air jack system on his third and final pit stop late in the race. He also finished eighth after qualifying 14th at the G.I. Joe's 200 last month at Portland, Ore., and 12th after qualifying fourth at the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca Raceway.

**The first weekend of June, at the Miller Lite 250 near Milwaukee, Kanaan debuted a Lola chassis as the team made the switch from Reynard for the first time in its two-plus years of existence. He qualified eighth after running as high as third following Saturday-morning practice. In Sunday's race, Kanaan moved from eighth to fourth on the very first lap, and was running third when, on Lap 92, he was forced to retire from the 250-lap event with an oil leak.

**In the season's first three events, Kanaan also recorded DNFs at Monterrey, Mexico (March 10, late-race accident after an early-race pit stop for a new electronic control unit cost two laps), Long Beach, Calif. (April 14, mechanical failure on Lap 17 of 90) and Japan's Twin Ring Motegi (April 27, mid-race mechanical failure). He qualified sixth and was running fifth at Long Beach when forced to retire. He qualified second and was leading his 72nd lap when forced to retire on Lap 121 at Motegi. The Monterrey DNF was his first in 11 races dating back to the Michigan 500 in July, 2000.

**On Memorial Day weekend, Kanaan competed in his first-ever Indianapolis 500, joining Mo Nunn Racing's full-time Indy Racing League driver Felipe Giaffone in a second Hollywood-sponsored team car. Kanaan qualified fifth in the #17 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Chevrolet G-Force entry - the fastest rookie qualifier in the 33-car field - and dominated the early stages of the race, leading 23 laps in all before an ill-fated accident while running first on Lap 89. Kanaan spun in the oil of fellow CART regular Bruno Junqueira, who suffered a mechanical failure in Turn 3, and made heavy contact with the outside wall. Kanaan was unhurt, but saw a promising day come to an end. He clocked the third-fastest race lap. Giaffone, meanwhile, went on to finish third in the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Chevrolet G-Force.

**Kanaan qualified 19th in his first two Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland events, with Tasman Motorsports (later to be called Forsythe Championship Racing) in 1998 and 1999. He placed 14th during his CART Rookie of the Year season of 1998, and 22nd in 1999.

**He missed his first opportunity to drive here during Mo Nunn Racing's inaugural 2000 season as he was sidelined with an injury for the third of four races in a row and was replaced by Bryan Herta in the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard. Herta qualified seventh and placed ninth after a first-lap incident that required an unscheduled pit stop to replace the car's nose.

**In 2001, Kanaan piloted the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard to ninth place in the driver points standings. He scored points in 14 of his 19 starts last season, including eight consecutive events from Toronto through Laguna Seca, and nine of the final 10 events of the year. Season highlights included a third-place finish at Twin Ring Motegi for the team's first and his fourth career podium, and the pole qualifying effort on the 1-mile oval at Chicago. He added top-five finishes at Vancouver (fourth), Mid-Ohio (fifth) and the 500-mile season finale at Fontana (fifth). Kanaan had six top-five qualifying efforts on the year (the pole at Chicago, third at Long Beach, fourth at Motegi and Toronto, and fifth here at Cleveland and at Michigan). The Cleveland (fifth), Toronto (fourth), Michigan (fifth) and Chicago (pole) qualifying efforts came during consecutive events.

**In 26 career Champ Car starts on temporary circuits, Kanaan has one pole (Long Beach 1999), one podium finish (third at Houston in 1998) and 11 top-10s.

**Veteran race engineer Iain Watt joined Mo Nunn Racing this season after working with Max Papis (1999), Cristiano da Matta (2000) and Dario Franchitti (2001) while at Cal Wells' Precision Preparation team (1999-2000) and Team Green (2001) the past three seasons. Thus, Kanaan is working with a new engineer for the first time since he first came to the U.S. to race in the Indy Lights series after the 1995 season. He worked with Eric Cowdin enroute to Indy Lights Rookie of the Year (1996) and the series championship (1997) honors while at Tasman Motorsports, moved up with Cowdin and Tasman to the Champ Car ranks and was CART Rookie of the Year in 1998, then moved to Mo Nunn Racing with Cowdin after the 1999 season. Cowdin is engineering the team's IRL entry this season. Don Lambert, who joined Mo Nunn Racing last season as chief mechanic with the Pioneer-WorldCom Honda-Reynard program, is Kanaan's new chief mechanic and is joined by a majority of the Pioneer-WorldCom crew from last season.

**Longtime race engineer Morris Nunn is in his third season as CART FedEx Championship Series team owner and his first in the Indy Racing League. He founded Mo Nunn Racing just prior to the 2000 CART season after leaving Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, where he was technical director during consecutive series championships by Jimmy Vasser (1996), Alex Zanardi (1997-98) and Juan Pablo Montoya (1999). Nunn also engineered Emerson Fittipaldi's 1989 Indianapolis 500 victory and CART championship while the two were with Patrick Racing.

**This year, Nunn's team is splitting its time between single-car entries in both CART (Tony Kanaan driving the #10 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Lola) and the IRL (Felipe Giaffone driving the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Chevrolet G-Force). Giaffone finished fourth at Kansas Speedway last weekend for his sixth top-six finish in a row. He is currently fourth in the IRL points standings behind Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran and Sam Hornish, Jr. The IRL is off this weekend.

**Nunn and Zanardi collaborated on a second-place finish from the No. 2 qualifying position here at Cleveland in 1996, then won the 1997 and 1998 races. The 1997 win came from the pole. Nunn and Montoya also won here from the pole during Montoya's 1999 championship season.

TONY KANAAN QUOTES

"Well, I'd love to say it's been a fun year, but I'd be lying. Actually, we 've had some really good moments, but unfortunately they haven't come on Sundays. Probably the best time we've had all year was last weekend in Toronto when our good friend Alex (Zanardi) finally came back to see us. That put a smile on everybody's face, and it was the greatest thing in the world for the guys who worked with him last year to see him again. He got the Greg Moore Award. He climbed into the race car and had the biggest smile on his face that you can imagine. He waved the green flag and the checkered flag. That was so great. I love that guy! He thought the weekend went by way too fast, so I'm betting he'll be back soon."

"I really wish I could have brought [team owner] Morris [Nunn] his first win with Alex waving the checkered flag, but that was just a dream. It was disappointing what happened to us on Sunday, but some things you just can't control. All you can do is get over it and move on to the next one. Cleveland is a good track to get it all back together. It's wide open and very forgiving. Definitely, it's a driver's road course. It's very unusual because it's not your pure road course type of track. But it's great for the fans, and it's one of the most fun tracks to drive all year, especially when you have a good race car. I think we'll be in good shape. We just have to have things go our way, for a change, on Sunday."

-mnr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , ART Grand Prix