INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- April 23, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Kanaan, AGR back in the game 2. Kansas Citians can fill up with ethanol-enriched gasoline for $2.14 on Thursday 3. Drivers reap rewards from...
INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- April 23, 2007
Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Kanaan, AGR back in the game
2. Kansas Citians can fill up with ethanol-enriched gasoline for $2.14 on Thursday
3. Drivers reap rewards from Indy Japan 300
1. Kanaan, AGR back in the game: Tony Kanaan emerged from the Honda Collection Hall at Twin Ring Motegi satisfied with his contributions to the engine manufacturer's IndyCar Series program.
The longtime Andretti Green Racing driver gave Honda its initial series victory (2003 at Phoenix), pole ('03 season opener at Homestead), series championship ('04) and Indianapolis 500 pole ('05).
So as Kanaan toured the eclectic displays of racing history interspersed with lawn mowers, he was drawn to the Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone that resides directly across a Formula One car driven by his idol Ayrton Senna.
"I sat there for a little bit and I kept looking at it. I looked his car, I looked my car. I'm like, 'Yeah,' '' Kanaan said.
Maybe there was a measure of inspiration derived from the visit, or at least a resolve to fill the gap in his Honda resume -- winning the Indy Japan 300. Whatever, the veteran's fuel strategy proved decisive in winning the fifth annual race on the challenging 1.5-mile oval.
"It definitely feels very good," said Kanaan, who flew past the finish line 0.4828 of a second in front of Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon. "The best way to thank Honda, the Honda family, is winning. That's all they want to do."
Kanaan's victory was the first for any of the four Andretti Green Racing cars on a 1.5-mile oval since he took the checkers at Kansas Speedway in 2005. Results on the six 1.5-mile tracks last season didn't set well with the team, which -- like Honda -- only wants to win. The four drivers combined for four top-five finishes, with Kanaan the pacesetter with three.
So there was a period of off-season soul-searching among the competitors, engineers and respective crews looking at what was missing on those handling tracks. Answers began to appear during the Open Test on the Homestead oval in February, which elevated the mood of the entire operation.
In two oval events this season, Kanaan and Dario Franchitti have combined for four top-10 results. Franchitti finished third at Twin Ring Motegi. Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick haven't caught up yet, but the mood of the team remains optimistic.
"This was a very important win for the entire Andretti Green Racing team," said Kanaan, who has won at least one race in five consecutive seasons and sits three points behind Wheldon, the leader in the championship standings. "Ganassi and Penske have been so strong on the one-and-a-half-mile tracks for the past year or so, while it was an area were we had to make some improvements. Our team worked very hard over the winter to improve our performance on the big tracks like Motegi, and that makes this win very sweet for us."
Now it's on to another 1.5-mile track -- Kansas Speedway for the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 on April 29. AGR will be ready.
2. Kansas Citians can fill up with ethanol-enriched gasoline for $2.14 on Thursday: Kansas City consumers can follow in the footsteps of the IndyCar Series and make a choice at the pump for energy independence and cleaner air. E10, a blend of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol, will be available for $2.14, the pole qualifying speed (mph) for last year's Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway, on Thursday, April 26 at two Snappy Store locations in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area.
E10 is warranted for use in any vehicle built after 1980. E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline and can only be used in Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV's). There are more than 6 million FFV's on the road today.
No. 17 Team Ethanol driver Jeff Simmons will sign autographs and be available for interviews from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. at 1509 W. 12th St. in Kansas City. Photo opportunities are also available with the IndyCar Series show car at the event.
The discounted fuel also will be available from 3-4 p.m. at the Snappy Store at 9715 Kaw Drive in Edwardsville, Kansas.
The Kansas Lottery Indy 300 is April 29 at Kansas Speedway. All the race vehicles in the IndyCar Series are fueled with 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol.
3. Drivers reap rewards from Indy Japan 300: Tony Kanaan reaped the benefits from winning an IndyCar Series event.
As the Indy Japan 300 race winner, Kanaan was presented a Forum timepiece from Ritmo Mundo, the official timepiece of the IndyCar Series. Ritmo Mundo presents a timepiece to the winner of each IndyCar Series event in 2007 and a $100,000 timepiece to the IndyCar Series champion.
Helio Castroneves collected the IndyCar Series Pole Award and its $10,000 prize for the second straight event, while Dan Wheldon won the Firestone Performance Award and its $10,000 prize for leading Lap 137 of the race. Scott Dixon claimed the Lincoln Electric Hard Charger Award and its $2,000 prize for being the race leader who started furthest back.
The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on April 29. The race will be telecast live by ESPN2 and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The sixth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Freedom 100 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast as part of ESPN2's coverage of Carb Day at 4 p.m. on May 25.