TONY KANAAN "Being a Brazilian, this will always be a very special race for me and my team ... our homecoming. My first Champ Car race here (in 1998) I experienced one of those surreal moments during my qualifying run. I could actually hear...
"Being a Brazilian, this will always be a very special race for me and my team ... our homecoming. My first Champ Car race here (in 1998) I experienced one of those surreal moments during my qualifying run. I could actually hear the roar of the crowd building as I was making my way around the track. I qualified third, my best starting position to that point. And even though hundreds of horsepower were screaming away behind me as I went around the track, somehow the roar of the crowd got through and it felt very exciting.
"This is amounting to a busy week. It's my home race and my sponsor, Hollywood, is a Brazilian company. I will be doing a lot more work than I did here in the past. I'm excited and looking forward to a good race for the people and for my sponsor. I am also pretty excited about getting to meet the President of Brazil (on Monday prior to the race).
"As we've shown in our first two races, this team seems to be competitive right out of the box. We had a good run on the oval at Homestead. At Long Beach, we were running well before we ran into some terrible luck. So you never know when we will finally break through. But we are a new team, and there are things about being a new team that you have to work through. Wouldn't it be great if we could bring home our first podium finish, even our first win, down here? It would be the kick in the pants we've all been working so hard for!"
--This is the Tony Kanaan's third visit to Nelson Piquet International Raceway in a Champ Car, his first with newly formed Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing.
--He qualified seventh and finished fifth here last year with Forsythe Championship Racing.
--In 1998, his Rookie of the Year season on the CART FedEx Championship Series, he qualified third in only his fourth Champ Car race ever, but made an early exit due to engine trouble.
--In his first two-plus seasons on the CART FedEx Championship Series circuit, Kanaan has 41 starts, one race win, seven top-five finishes, 21 top-10 finishes, one pole, and has qualified in the top 10 a total of 15 times. He opened the season with a 10th-place finish in Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing's inaugural race at Homestead, Fla. He qualified eighth at Nazareth, Pa., on April 8 for a race that was rescheduled for May 27 due to snow. At Long Beach two weekends ago, Kanaan qualified 15th and placed 16th after a mid-race collision with Kenny Brack ended his race day prematurely.
--Team owner Morris Nunn, technical director for the last four CART series champions while at Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, won last year's race here with Juan Montoya, the eventual CART champion, and the pole in 1996 with two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi.