CHAMPCAR/CART: Kanaan Motegi race notes

Tony Kanaan and his ...

Tony Kanaan and his #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard finished third in today's Firestone Firehawk 500 at Twin Ring Motegi to bring his second-year team its first appearance on a CART FedEx Championship Series podium. Kanaan started fourth on the grid and worked his way into the lead by Lap 105 of 201 laps run today. He stayed in front for 40 laps before pitting on Lap 145, and challenged for the lead again before a final stop for a splash of fuel just 14 laps from the end. His final bid for a victory ended when a late-race crash brought out the caution flag for six of the final seven laps, and allowing the cars ahead of him to finish the race without pitting. Kanaan finished behind Kenny Brack, who scored his first CART victory today, and runner-up and polesitter Helio Castroneves.

It was Kanaan's fourth career podium finish in four seasons on the CART circuit, his first since winning the 1999 U.S. 500 at Michigan Speedway. Today's finish lifted Kanaan's driver points total to 26 on the season, good for seventh place and seven more points in four races this season than he scored all of last season.

Kanaan's teammate Alex Zanardi and the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard started eighth and finished seventh today. It was the best finish in four races this season for Zanardi, the 1997 and 1998 series champion. Zanardi set the fastest lap of the race today, 26.715-second (208.602-mph) effort around the 1.549-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval.

The next stop on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series tour is in two weekends, the Miller Lite 200 at the Milwaukee Mile June 1-3. Today's race will be broadcast in the U.S. by ABC-TV at 1 p.m. EDT.

TONY KANAAN

"I'm happy to be back on the podium again. It's been a long time, but I hope to make a habit of it. This is a great milestone for the entire Mo Nunn Racing team. I definitely had a car that could have won the race today. We had a good strategy going. I'm not sure if we would have caught Kenny (Brack), but I know Helio would have run out of fuel if it hadn't have been for that late yellow flag. It was a fun race. We ran something like 180 green flag laps in a row, and that makes it very exciting for the fans. It becomes a real strategy type of race. Do you run hard and hope for yellows? Do you try and save fuel? It was a guessing game. But it was good to break the ice and get on the podium for (team owner) Morris (Nunn) for the first time. I'm proud to be a part of this organization."

-MNR

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Alex Zanardi , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Mo Nunn