IRL: Kanaan wins dramatic Michigan race

Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan outdrove teammate Marco Andretti over the last twenty laps to win the Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday (August 5th).

Tony Kanaan takes the checkered flag ahead of Marco Andretti.
Photo by Shawn Payne - IRL.
The victory was Kanaan's third of the 2007 season, and brought a tumultuous day for the AGR team to a happy close.

"This definitely wasn't a boring race for these great fans. It was a crazy day," he said referring to a dramatic, near-catastrophic accident that sent teammate Dario Franchitti flipping down the back straightaway of the Speedway. "We didn't have the fastest car, and we had to maximize what he had. Today was definitely my day."

Kanaan went on to scold his fellow Indy Racing League peers, adding "I really don't think this is the way to race, like this today. I saw nearly twenty times we could have had one of these flips out there. The officials are going to have to look at this some way."

Second-place Marco Andretti offered praise for the Brazilian driver, who persevered after a poor qualifying effort on Saturday to a triumph on the track on raceday.

"Congratulations to Tony. It was an awesome effort," said the twenty-year old son of team owner Michael Andretti. "My gearing was a bit too tall, and Tony started to pull me around the track after awhile."

Scott Sharp finished third, followed by Kosuke Matsuura and Buddy Rice. Ryan Hunter-Reay placed sixth, while Danica Patrick's seventh proved somewhat of a disappointment after she punctured a tire in the final laps and slid back from third-place to a top-ten finish, one lap down.

AJ Foyt IV finished eighth, thirty-three laps down and one of several drivers that were involved in the Franchitti/Dan Wheldon collision on lap 143, an incident that will be remembered as the defining moment of the race.

Franchitti soared into the air at over two hundred miles per hour, pirouetted on-end, and then landed inverted after the initial wheel-to-wheel contact with Wheldon, flying over Vision Racing's Tomas Scheckter and nearly settling into the lap of Scott Dixon on descent. Ed Carpenter and Sam Hornish, Jr also fell victim to the melee that remarkably produced no injury among the competitors.

The race was run under fifty-nine total yellow flag laps, and left thirteen cars parked at the end of the day, though AJ Foyt IV, Hornish, and Dixon were able to return to the track and run limited laps for points in the final stanza.

Franchitti collected twenty points for his placement in thirteenth, and three more for 'most laps led' while Dixon picked up twenty-three points in tenth. The net result is Franchitti maintains his twenty-four point lead for the IRL championship heading to Kentucky Speedway on August 11th.