In the closing laps of the race Kanaan was pressing Ryan Hunter-Reay for second, but simply ran out of time.
Newton, IA - KV Racing Technology driver Tony Kanaan overcame early race issues and drove flawlessly finishing third in today's Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Teammate Simona De Silvestro placed 21st.
During the stop the Sunoco - KVRT - SH Racing crew did an outstanding job addressing several issues that were affecting the performance of the car. Kanaan rejoined the contest in ninth place and held station for most of the second stint, He moved into sixth just prior to his second stop re-emerging in ninth place.
He dropped to 12th when the team strategically pitted him during a caution period on lap 142. The strategy paid off when the leaders pitted much later moving Kanaan into second place and with a low load of fuel and skillful driving he was able to gain significant track position.
Kanaan made his final stop on lap 210 where the earlier strategy again paid off by allowing the team to short fill the car and give Kanaan fresh tires for a final run at a podium finish. He came back out in sixth place and quickly charged into fourth. Over the final 30 plus laps Kanaan engaged in a fierce battle with Graham Rahal for third and with fresher tires was able to overtake his rival with six laps remaining.
In the closing laps of the race Kanaan was pressing Ryan Hunter-Reay for second, but simply ran out of time. Kanaan earned 35 points for the podium finish and got three points for his qualifying performance yesterday giving him a total 253 putting in fifth place in the championship race just 13 out of fourth.
Commenting on today's race Kanaan said, "First I have to thank the entire Sunoco - KV Racing Technology - SH Racing team. They did a great job today. We had some issues early in the race with the car, but we were able to work around them. The pit stops and strategy were great and we fought hard to earn this podium finish.
I also want to thank Chevrolet and Firestone for their work. It was a great effort by everyone and a great race. This is my second race in the Sunoco car and a second podium for us. I want to keep that momentum going into Pocono, which we will have the Sunoco car again and will be the second leg of the triple- crown."
Kanaan, who made his seventh start at Iowa, earned his fourth consecutive podium finish including a victory in 2010, a second in 2011 and thirds in 2012 and 2013.The last three podiums have come while driving for KV Racing Technology.
The 38-year-old Brazilian has finished nineof the 10 races contested this year earning fivetop-10 finishes including three podium performances and the victory at Indy. This was the second of four races Kanaan will contest with the Sunoco "Turbo" livery. He also finished third in his first event in Texas with Pocono and Mid-Ohio still to come.
De Silvestro, driver of the No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet Firestone car, qualified 23rd, but started 20th as a result of the penalties to the 18 and 67 cars for unapproved engine changes pursuant to Rule 15.6.1 and the 16 car being moved to the back of the grid as a result of yesterday's Heat Race 2 crash.
De Silvestro, while not able to advance through the field, was able to drive a clean race to bring her car home 21st. The 24-year-old Swiss driver had a couple strong stints in the middle of the race, but continued to be frustrated with the handling of the car.
"The car was better today than yesterday," De Silvestro said, "but it's still not quite there yet. It feels like we're in damage control mode right now. We rolled off the truck not so good and didn't have a ton of track time to get it fixed, so we got in kind of a pickle there.
For the race we tried a few different things which got us closer, but it was still a long race for us. I'm excited to go testing and hopefully we can turn all of this around. We've struggled the last two races, so we'll just have to keep working on it."
The team now travels Pocono for a private test. IndyCar will be racing at Pocono Raceway on July 7th for the first time since 1984. The race will air live on ABC. Race start is 12:15 p.m. ET.