Tony Kanaan ended Andretti Green Racing's ten race dry spell by winning the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile. All four Andretti Green Racing drivers were running at the front late in the race with Sam Hornish joining their party with...
Tony Kanaan ended Andretti Green Racing's ten race dry spell by winning the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at the Milwaukee Mile. All four Andretti Green Racing drivers were running at the front late in the race with Sam Hornish joining their party with 55 laps remaining. With the frontrunners attempting to complete the race in two pit stops by saving fuel and conserving tires, Tomas Scheckter and Danica Patrick were able to crash the AGR party by stopping for tires during the last caution period.
After going a lap down during the first half of the race, Hornish ultimately ended up in the same pit sequence as the AGR drivers. He moved past Bryan Herta, taking fourth place with just over 50 laps remaining. Twenty laps later a caution period bunched the field, putting Hornish directly behind Franchitti. On the restart, Hornish moved swiftly passed Dario Franchitti, engaging Marco Andretti in a two lap battle for second.
"We missed the setup just a little bit on the first part of the race," said Hornish. "Heck of a race for us. We had a good day while a lot of other people had bad days, so we'll just keep going."
While Hornish battled Andretti, Kanaan was able to pull away at the point, finishing 1.8276 seconds ahead of Hornish.
Kanaan credited his victory to the team's testing program, which allows IndyCar Series teams to test using their Indy Pro Series drivers. "This proves our Indy Pro Series program works for us," Kanaan said. "I have to thank Jaime Camara for all the tests and Jonathan Klein and Dario for coming here with Marco. They did a great job."
The victory marks Andretti Green Racing's 22nd win in the IndyCar Series, and breaks a tie with Team Penske making it the IndyCar Series' winningest-team. It was a double-victory weekend for Andretti Green Racing as Jaime Camara won the Indy Pro Series race on July 22.
Stopping for tires on the last caution period when Jeff Bucknum scraped the Turn four wall, allowed Tomas Scheckter and a hard charging Danica Patrick to finish third and fourth, respectively.
Scheckter, who struggled early, managed to adjust his car to perform well during the final laps. Just like Hornish, Scheckter went down a lap during the first round of pit stops. He fought to pass the leader and was then sent to the rear of the field during a mid-race caution period. "We got my lap back, that was the most important thing," Scheckter said. "The main thing was getting my lap back and getting that new set of tires at the end."
Marco Andretti was fifth followed by his teammates, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta. Herta finished seventh, the last driver on the lead lap. "It was good," said Andretti, who led 39 laps. "The whole middle of the race we were looking better on fuel than anybody, we were looking for track position. But in the end, we had to conserve more. The car went off a little more than my teammates, but I've got to say congrats to TK. He was definitely hooked up."
Franchitti led 26 laps during the midpoint of the race but was unable to maintain the pace during the final laps. "We had a very good car to start with and I could go at a certain pace," said the Scotsman. "If I tried to go any quicker than that, the car just used up the tires so quickly and that's what we were seeing towards the end there. The car was very good in traffic when the track was slow, but as the track got quicker toward the end, I just couldn't hold that pace and it was pretty horrendous from then on.
"I feel good, though. We passed a bunch of cars and fought our way up to the lead and the guys did a great job in the pits. It's great for Andretti Green Racing that TK won the race, but we're a little disappointed right now."
In addition to conserving fuel, Herta said he had an additional problem. "We had two issues going on at the end. The team had a fuel saving program going on because we stayed out with our teammates at the end. The second thing was that we were picking up a big understeer and feeling a big vibration toward the end of the race. We just didn't seem to have the same kind of grip on those tires that I had earlier on, so I was just hanging on for all I could. A couple cars with fresher tires were able to come up at the end and were able to get us, which is too bad because it looked for a while like AGR was going to have a '1-2-3-4' finish."
The top four drivers in the championship point standings, Hornish, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves and Dan Wheldon are still locked in a tight battle separated by a total of 32 points.
Wheldon finished eighth today, one lap behind the leaders. "It was a difficult day for everyone at Ganassi Racing today," Wheldon said. "For whatever reason, we were a little off this weekend but it's a sensible result from a points perspective. It's a shame really because it could have been an opportunity to make up some points in the championship. From here on out, it's pretty simple; win at all costs."
Jeff Simmons finished ninth with Scott Dixon rounding out the top ten. Simmons thought he would have finished better if he had not encountered a problem in the pits. "We had a pretty car today, maybe a top five or six at the finish," he said. "But on the first pit stop, the Foyt guys were pitted in the stall next to us and their spare wheels were in the lane waiting for Jeff Bucknum. I pulled around them but couldn't make the turn and had to stop. The crew had to push me back and then forward into our pit stall. I lost two laps on the mishap. I feel bad for the team because we had a better car than ninth."
Helio Castroneves was involved in an incident with Ed Carpenter, forcing him to the pits for repairs. Castroneves, who was running at the end, was credited with 14th place, 55 laps down to the leader. Forced to retire, Carpenter was credited with 16th place.