Tony Kanaan ...
#55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard
The 500 - Sunday, Nov. 4, 2001
California Speedway - Fontana, Calif.- 2-Mile Tri-Oval
Round 21 of 21 on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series
Tony Kanaan and the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard finished fifth in today's CART FedEx Championship Series rain-delayed season final that was shortened from 500 miles to 440 due to darkness. Kanaan, who started 14th, had one of the fastest cars on the track for most of the day and was making another charge to the front when, with four laps to go, a yellow flag brought out by a single-car accident involving Scott Dixon ended Kanaan's bid. Kanaan led twice during the race and was sitting comfortably in 11th with some 20 laps to go. He was in 10th by Lap 204, and was passing cars almost every lap. He got as high as fifth when the final yellow came out. Earlier in the race, Kanaan vaulted from 19th place to the lead within a four-lap span. Nonetheless, Kanaan moved up to ninth in the season-ending driver points standings with 96.
Teammate Casey Mears also had a competitive car in the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard. Mears started 21st and also worked his way to the front by the race's midpoint. He finished eighth in his fourth and final race as the replacement for the injured Alex Zanardi. Cristiano da Matta won for the second week in a row and the third time this season. Max Papis was second and Alex Tagliani was third.
The 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series begins March 10 in Monterrey, Mexico. A 19-event schedule was announced by CART this afternoon featuring new venues in Montreal, Denver and Mexico City. Tony Kanaan will move to the Pioneer/WorldCom-sponsored Honda team car while Hollywood and Mo Nunn Racing go over to the Indy Racing League to field an entry for that series' 2001 Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone.
"We had the car today, there's no doubt about it. It's a shame we ran out of laps, but that's racing. We're finishing our season on a high note, that 's for sure. Plus, I won another bet with Cristiano, although this time it' s not for a bike, it's for $100,000. We told each other that if one of us wins this race (and the $1 million first prize), he would give the other 100 grand. That's a nice consolation prize. My car was just awesome today. I could move to the front whenever I wanted. We took a gamble on our fuel strategy by topping off with what we thought were about 40 laps to go, but they shortened the race, and we got some yellows that cost us some very important laps we needed to get back to the front. We've been so close so many times this year. Again, we are frustrated, but at least we were in a position to win. It's been such a difficult year in a lot of respect. We lost Alex Zanardi (to injury), my dear friend. But I think I'm going to have him back here as my driving coach. In the meantime, we're all ready for a little vacation."