Michigan is a welcome sight for Kanaan and Team 7-Eleven INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 22, 2003) -- After enduring a stretch of five-straight races at tracks they had never raced at before, the members of Team 7-Eleven are looking forward to...
Michigan is a welcome sight for Kanaan and Team 7-Eleven
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 22, 2003) -- After enduring a stretch of five-straight races at tracks they had never raced at before, the members of Team 7-Eleven are looking forward to a weekend in the relatively familiar surroundings of Michigan International Speedway.
Led by Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar^Ù Series points leader Tony Kanaan, the team worked through the past five races with no previous race experience from which to draw. With only a limited amount of testing time, the team managed to score two runner-up finishes, four top-fives and five top-10s. Fueled by that performance, Kanaan's lead in the championship standings sits at 14 points -- the exact advantage he held at the beginning of that string of events.
Now, the team prepares for Sunday's 400-miler at Michigan International Speedway -- a track the team competed on numerous times in the CART series as Team Green and where Kanaan scored the first major open-wheel victory of his career in 1999.
"I have good memories from Michigan," said Kanaan, "so we're going to go up there and try to do as well as we've done in the past. But, it will be hard. The championship is really tight, so we've got to do our best again. But, I'm looking forward to going back there.
"I love racing there. It will be good racing for everybody. I just hope we can be as competitive as we've been everywhere else."
But -- the past aside -- Kanaan is focused on the task at hand this weekend.
"It will feel good to go back to a place as a former winner, but it was a long time ago," said Kanaan. "What I need to do is do it again this year, so I can go back next year as the 'defending winner.'"
Like Kanaan, Andretti Green Racing president Kim Green is never satisfied with anything less than a victory, but also acknowledges that the team performed well when challenged with this summer's schedule.
"We didn't always have the fastest race car in those races, but I think it showed the strength of the team by the way we hung in there," said Green. "With the way the points are awarded in this series you need to be consistent and you need to finish races. Certainly, at some tough race tracks, we managed to score a lot of really good points. But, we still have a lot of work to do to try and win the championship.
"Michigan has always produced exciting racing since we've been involved there," said Green. "It's a race track where you can vary the line. There is a lot of side-by-side racing, a lot of close racing and a lot of lead changes. Again, it will be new for us in the sense that we're running Indy Racing League cars there, with a little bit different aerodynamic rules than what we've been used to. But, we certainly feel comfortable going back there. We tested well and hopefully we can have our first 'one-two-three' finish of the year."
Qualifying for Round 10 of the IRL IndyCar Series at Michigan is set for 11 a.m. (EDT) Saturday with the Firestone Indy 400 slated for 3 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, airing live on ABC.
- AGR -