TONY KANAAN "It's hard to believe we're down to the last race of the season after all we've been through this year. But we're looking to make it a good one, definitely. We'd like nothing better than to send Mercedes off with a win, or at least a...
"It's hard to believe we're down to the last race of the season after all we've been through this year. But we're looking to make it a good one, definitely. We'd like nothing better than to send Mercedes off with a win, or at least a podium finish. They and the people at Ilmor have been very good to us all season long. They are the reason this team was formed in the first place. They have worked very hard all year, and even though the results may not be where we, or they, would like them to be, I think we are capable of finishing the season with a good result at Fontana. It's a long race. Anything can happen. So let's just give it our best effort of the year and hope that it pays off in the end. The million-dollar winner's check would make for some good Christmas shopping money!"
-- This is Kanaan's third visit to California Speedway in a Champ Car, his first with first-year Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing. He was 19th here during his Rookie of the Year season of 1998 with Tasman Motorsports (later Forsythe Championship Racing). He qualified 11th and finished eighth here last year with the Forsythe team.
-- At Surfers Paradise, Australia, two weekends ago, Kanaan started seventh and finished eighth, his sixth (and the team's seventh) top-10 finish of the season and his 26th in 54 career Champ Car starts.
-- In his 15 starts this season for Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing, Kanaan also has six top-10 qualifying efforts. His best finish was eighth, at Nazareth, Road America and Surfers Paradise. His top qualifying effort was third at Chicago.
-- Kanaan was involved in a final qualifying accident at Detroit in June left him with a broken left forearm that required surgery and four broken ribs on his left side. He was back in the car 33 days later at the Michigan 500, but missed four races, three of which (Portland, Cleveland and Toronto) he was replaced by Bryan Herta.
-- Team owner Morris Nunn was technical director at Target/Chip Ganassi Racing during the last four CART championship runs by Jimmy Vasser (1996), Alex Zanardi (1997-98) and Juan Montoya (1999). Vasser won here in 1998 and was second in 1997.