TONY KANAAN "I rate Long Beach among my top three favorite tracks in the world. I just love coming here because the whole city embraces this event and it's one, big party. I've had a lot of success here in the past, which probably helps me...
"I rate Long Beach among my top three favorite tracks in the world. I just love coming here because the whole city embraces this event and it's one, big party. I've had a lot of success here in the past, which probably helps me feel the way I do. Or maybe I just happen to do well here because I'm so comfortable here. It's our first road course race of the year, and we are feeling very confident after doing well at Homestead and Nazareth.
"I got my first top-five finish in Long Beach in 1998. It was only my third race in a Champ Car. Last year was great because I won the pole. But it turned out to be a bitter pill to swallow when I crashed out of the race. So I have some unfinished business to take care of this weekend. I can't wait!"
-- Tony Kanaan, last year's polesitter here, returns for his third Grand Prix of Long Beach in a Champ Car and first with his new first-year team, Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing.
-- Kanaan led 44 laps of last year's event here in his Forsythe Championship Racing entry but saw his day end prematurely when his car got caught up in the marbles and crashed on Lap 46.
-- Kanaan finished fifth here in 1998 in only his third-ever Champ Car race. He went on to earn Rookie of the Year honors that year.
-- Kanaan also enjoyed success here in the Dayton Indy Lights Series, finishing second in 1996 and fourth in 1997, the latter en route to winning the series championship.
-- In his first two-plus seasons on the CART FedEx Championship Series circuit, Kanaan has 40 starts, one race win, seven top-five finishes, 21 top-10 finishes, one pole, and has qualified in the top 10 a total of 15 times. He opened the season with a 10th-place finish in Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing's inaugural race. He qualified eighth at Nazareth, Pa., last weekend for a race that was rescheduled for May 27 due to snow.
-- Team owner Morris Nunn, technical director for the last four CART series champions while at Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, also is on a four-race winning streak here at Long Beach (Jimmy Vasser in 1996, Alex Zanardi in 1997 and 1998, and Juan Montoya in 1999).
-- Team manager Brad Filbey is a Long Beach native whose history at Long Beach dates back to his days as a 14-year-old when he worked after school, building the then-Formula 1 racetrack for promoter Chris Pook. Filbey is a graduate of Long Beach Wilson High School and also was a student at Long Beach City College.