IRL: Kansas: AGR's Kanaan race report

Team 7-Eleven's Kanaan finishes fourth in wild Kansas fuel mileage shootout. KANSAS CITY, Kan. (July 6, 2003) -- Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan came within six laps of capturing his second win of the 2003 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar ...

Team 7-Eleven's Kanaan finishes fourth in wild Kansas fuel mileage shootout.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (July 6, 2003) -- Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan came within six laps of capturing his second win of the 2003 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series season, but settled for a fourth-place finish Sunday at Kansas Speedway after relinquishing the lead to come to pit road for a splash of fuel.

Kanaan, who started eighth in the #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, pitted with 61 laps to go in the 200-lap event and returned to the track in the third position. He moved to second on lap 175 when leader Scott Dixon pitted for fuel and then took over the lead 10 laps later when Gil de Ferran did the same.

Kanaan was hoping to be able to stretch his fuel load to the finish, but had to make the inevitable stop on lap 194, at which time Kanaan's Andretti Green Racing teammate Bryan Herta took over the lead and went on to win his first IRL race in just his third series start. The victory marked the team's second win of the season -- the first coming via Kanaan at Phoenix International Raceway in March.

Following Herta in the rundown were Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and de Ferran, who finished second and third, respectively.

Kanaan's seventh top-five finish of the season helped his extend his points lead to 31 over Dixon, 279-248.

The IRL IndyCar Series resumes on July 19 with Round 9 of 16 at Nashville Superspeedway.

TONY KANAAN #11 TEAM 7-ELEVEN DALLARA/HONDA/FIRESTONE:

"It was a good day. I worked my butt off. It was a long day for the whole Team 7-Eleven. I was trying to keep it in the front. I knew I wasn't going to make it on fuel and I saw Bryan [Herta] saving fuel, and I said, 'Hey, if I can't win I'd rather have my teammates win that anybody else.' Today should have opened a lot of people's eyes because they want to say, 'Honda this; the team that.' That (today's win) is the answer.

"I'm extremely happy for Bryan. He is a great guy. That whole Archipelago/Motorola team has had a tough time this year with Dario's injury, changing drivers and stuff. They deserve this. (Team manager) Kyle [Moyer] and all those guys -- I'm extremely happy for them."

KIM GREEN, PRESIDENT, ANDRETTI GREEN RACING:

"This is fantastic. With Dario's injury, we obviously had to make a call to the bullpen some months ago and it was a pretty good call. What a great relief driver -- he's done a hell of a job.

"He (Bryan Herta) has really been supporting the team well and working well with the drivers and fitting in so quickly. I'm really proud of everybody on the Archipelago/Motorola team. They've had to go through some tough times. " On Tony's side, we're obviously disappointed that he didn't win, but we just couldn't quite stretch the fuel mileage to get us to the end. But, overall it was a fantastic job by everyone. We had great pit stops, great driving and he maintained his points lead. There was a lot of very, very close racing out there. While stressful to watch, if you get through it -- it was fun to watch. I love this place. It's a great race track. I'm just hoping they can drop the temperature about 15 degrees when we come back next year."

-agr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta
Teams Team Penske