Kanaan Conquers Iowa
It took Tony Kanaan four attempts to finally finish the Iowa Corn Indy 250, but when he did it was for the win as the Andretti Autosport driver posted his first IZOD IndyCar Series victory of 2010 Sunday at Iowa Speedway and became the seventh different winner in eight races this season.
After crashing out in all three previous IndyCar Series races at Iowa, Kanaan battled though the field after starting 15th, then dueled throughout the second half of today's 250-lap race, first with Dario Franchitti, and then Helio Castroneves, finally pulling clear for a four-second margin of victory at the checkers.
It was a race filled with typical IndyCar short-track action, with 17 lead changes among seven different drivers keeping the near-capacity crowd on its feet throughout much of the afternoon, until Kanaan finally established his authority over the final 10 laps.
For the eighth consecutive race weekend in 2010, all 25 drivers completed the vent without a single failure for the Honda Indy V-8 engine. This weekend, drivers and teams logged a total of 7,345 trouble-free miles around the tight-but-fast Iowa oval.
Franchitti, unbeaten to date at Iowa, saw his attempt at a third victory here - and the series championship lead -- disappear on Lap 199, when a gearbox malfunction forced him to the pits after leading a race-high 69 laps. He would go on to finish 18th after repairs but would drop from first to third in the points standings as a result.
Another contender, Takuma Sato, had his best race of the season end on Lap 177 when he hit the Turn 4 wall while running in third place. At the time, Sato was closing on the leaders, but the Japanese driver got high while passing the lapped car of Alex Lloyd and slid into the retaining wall as a result. E.J. Viso, his KV Racing Technology teammate, went on to finish third, his best IZOD IndyCar Series finish of the year.
After four consecutive oval-track events, the IZOD IndyCar Series heads back to road- and street-circuit racing with the Independence Day weekend event at Watkins Glen International Raceway in upstate New York on Sunday, July 4.
Tony Kanaan (#11 Andretti Autosport Honda) started 15th, finished 1st, his first win of 2010 and 14th career IndyCar victory: "We had a great car all day long and I have to thank my teammates, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, for that. After our poor qualifying run yesterday we changed the setup of my car to more closely match theirs. It was a great battle with Helio [Castroneves], it brought back memories of many of our previous races together, all the way back to karting in Brazil. It took a long time for us to finish here, but when we did, we finished first. Now I'm looking forward to getting back to road racing for the next several races."
Helio Castroneves (#3 Team Penske Honda) Started 4th, finished 2nd: "It was a great job by Team Penske today; we finished second, fourth and fifth. But it was tough to lose the race in the final 10 laps. I really pushed hard on every restart, but didn't have enough for Tony [Kanaan] at the end. I think his car was just more consistent today. So that was a shame for us, but we moved up in the standings and that was good for the championship."
Roger Griffiths (Race Team Manager, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "It was a great win for Tony. He certainly is a fan favorite. Congratulations to him and the entire Andretti Autosport team. It was a great short-track race with a lot of passing and action for the crowd. And it was another trouble-free weekend for the Honda Indy V-8. We also had the opportunity during practice this weekend to run some valuable testing of the new "forced-neutral" [fuel probe first-gear lockout] system. We look forward to implementing it in the near future."
-source: honda racing