Defending race-winner Tony Kanaan's first official practice day in his ...
Defending race-winner Tony Kanaan's first official practice day in his #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Mercedes-Benz Reynard was hampered by mechanical problems in both this morning's and afternoon's sessions for Sunday's Michigan 500. Back for the first time since a June 17 final qualifying run at Detroit's Belle Isle left him with a broken left forearm that required surgery and four broken ribs on his left side, Kanaan recorded a fast lap of 31.408 seconds (an average of 229.241 mph) around the 2-mile Michigan Speedway oval this morning. This afternoon, however, a yet-to-be-determined mechanical problem in his primary car, and still unfinished repairs of gearbox problems in his back-up car from this morning's session, forced the team to call it quits midway through this afternoon's hour-long session.
Practice resumes at 8 a.m. EDT Saturday with qualifying set for 11 a.m. EDT. Race time is 1:30 p.m. EDT Sunday with a live broadcast set for ABC-TV.
"Well, the good news is that I feel absolutely great in the race car. The bad news is that we didn't get in a full day's worth of work, which is very critical in this series. It's so competitive that every minute on the track is precious. The arm and the ribs were not even an issue today out on the track. The big question is the ability to stay strong for 500 miles on Sunday. But that is the big question at every 500-mile race, whether or not I'd be coming off an injury. Tomorrow's another day, and we'll have to hit the ground running starting first thing tomorrow morning in order to get a good spot in the qualifying session."
"It's great to have Tony back in the car. He's not holding back, which makes me a little nervous because I really want him to ease back into this. So I think we've reached a happy medium. The bigger concern, as it turns out, is to get our work done on the race car. We had a problem we still haven't quite figured out with the primary car in the afternoon session. For safety's sake, we decided to park the car and begin investigating the problem. Unfortunately, repairs to the gearbox trouble we had in the back-up car this morning still weren't finished, so we were flat out of luck. Sunday's a long day, and we'll want to be there at the end. Better to encounter problems like these on Friday than during the race."