IRL: Kentucky: AGR, Kanaan race report

Kanaan, Team 7-Eleven Finish Fifth at Kentucky SPARTA, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2004) -Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan dominated the first half of Sunday's Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. However,...

Kanaan, Team 7-Eleven Finish Fifth at Kentucky

SPARTA, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2004) -Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan dominated the first half of Sunday's Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. However, a late-race fuel pressure issue caused him to lose speed through the corners as he ultimately finished in fifth place.

Kanaan, who qualified on the outside of the front row for the event, put the #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone into the lead at the drop of the green flag and again dominated the event, much as he did at Michigan just two weeks ago. The IRL IndyCar Series points leader led the first 127 laps of the event.

He entered a fuel conservation mode on lap 128, giving the lead to Tomas Scheckter. Following Scheckter's retirement on lap 139, Kanaan and the rest of the field stopped for service. The #11 Team-7- Eleven machine rejoined the field in second place, this time to leader Buddy Rice. Adrian Fernandez, who ran strong throughout the event, passed both Kanaan and Rice to take the lead, with Kanaan passing Rice to remain in second. It was in the final 30 laps that Kanaan mysteriously lost speed, despite being flat-out through the corners.

Fernandez earned his first IRL IndyCar Series victory, Rice was second, Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon finished third, rookie Kosuke Matsuura took fourth, and Kanaan was fifth, followed by ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti in sixth. Honda-powered machines swept the top six positions, enabling Honda to capture its first-ever IRL IndyCar Series Manufacturers' Championship with five races remaining in the 2004 season.

With his fifth-place finish, Kanaan now holds a 50-point advantage over Rice in the IndyCar Series points standings, with Wheldon 87 points back in third place.

Kanaan and the rest of the IndyCar Series teams return to action August 22 at Pikes Peak International Raceway for the Pikes Peak Honda Indy 225. The event will be televised live by ABC Sports, beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Tony Kanaan, #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"Team 7-Eleven had a good day, but had a few problems toward the end which caused us to lose speed in the corners. I was flat out, but couldn't pass anybody. But, we led the most laps and got three bonus points for that. If we keep finishing like this, we'll win the championship. Everyone at Andretti Green Racing needs to keep working together to help each other get back to victory lane, as well as help Team 7-Eleven to win the championship."

Kim Green, President, Andretti Green Racing:

"We are a little bit disappointed with our fifth-place finish because we had a very good race car and led the most laps. Something was going on towards the end, because we lost a bit of speed. We'll have to look and see what that was to make sure we have a handle on it for next week. Overall, Team 7- Eleven did a great job on their pit stops and everyone at Andretti Green Racing put 100 percent into their effort."

-AGR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Adrian Fernandez , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Kim Green , Kosuke Matsuura , Jim Beam