IRL: Kansas: AGR, Kanaan race report

Kanaan Earns Third-Place Finish For Team 7-Eleven at Kansas KANSAS CITY, Kansas (July 4, 2004) -Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan set the pace for much of the day, but couldn't find a way around the cars of Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira at the end,...

Kanaan Earns Third-Place Finish For Team 7-Eleven at Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (July 4, 2004) -Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan set the pace for much of the day, but couldn't find a way around the cars of Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira at the end, as he posted a third-place finish Sunday afternoon in the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series Argent Mortgage Kansas Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway.

The third-place finish allowed Kanaan to increase his IndyCar Series points lead over Klein Tools/Jim Beam teammate Dan Wheldon to 28 points (275-247).

After a yellow flag occurred at the start of the race, Kanaan, who started from the outside of the front row, charged the #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone into the lead when the race went green on lap 6. From that point, the Brazilian headed the field over the first 64 laps of the event. Kanaan briefly lost the lead to Meira on lap 65, but regained the top spot on lap 68. Meira again overtook the Team 7-Eleven machine on lap 90, and Rice followed on Lap 100.

A series of green flag pit stops occurred on lap 107, and Kanaan received stellar pit work form the Team 7-Eleven crew, returning to the race with the lead. Kanaan maintained the lead until Rice made a move on lap 123. Another round of green flag stops took place on lap 159, this time seeing Kanaan return to the track in the third position.

A caution period at lap 172 gave Kanaan an opportunity to close on the race leader, and when the race was restarted on lap 186, Kanaan pulled right onto the tail of the two Rahal/Lettermen teammates. Kanaan did everything possible to find a way past, but eventually was forced to settle for the third-place finish.

Kanaan and the rest of the IndyCar Series teams return to action in two weeks at the Nashville Superspeedway for the Firestone Indy 200 on July 17.

Tony Kanaan, #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"We had a couple problems with the car, so although it may have looked like I was having an easy time when I was leading, I really wasn't. We were trying to conserve fuel, just as Rice and Meira were, so I was leading and they weren't exactly trying to pass me. Once they (Rice and Meira) got past and went side-by-side, I knew they would be lifting just to keep me behind them. If I had a teammate up there, we'd have done the same thing if we were in their position. I stuck my nose under between them to let them know I was back there, but I wasn't going to do anything stupid. It's a long season and we did what we were supposed to do - score points in the championship and keep the lead."

Kim Green, President, Andretti Green Racing:

"At the first part of the race, we had the Team 7-Eleven car very well balanced and Tony was able to drive to the front and be very conservative and stay out front. As the race went on, the conditions became warmer and we lost a little bit of car balance. Our main opposition all day was the Rahal/Letterman team and their cars seemed to get better as the race went on. We need to look back and see if we could have done some things to our car to make it better, but overall, I'm very, very proud of everybody. We had great pit stops. We're not going to get every race weekend perfect; we were close to getting it perfect this weekend. It's all about building on a championship and making sure we don't do anything silly at the end that would put ourselves out of contention. I'm very happy with the results."

-agr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Kim Green , Jim Beam , Vitor Meira