IRL: Kansas: Race report

KANAAN NIPS WHELDON FOR KANSAS WIN KANSAS CITY, Kan., Sunday, July 3, 2005 -- Reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan nipped Andretti Green Racing teammate Dan Wheldon by 0.0120 of a second at the finish line to win the Argent Mortgage ...

KANAAN NIPS WHELDON FOR KANSAS WIN

KANSAS CITY, Kan., Sunday, July 3, 2005 -- Reigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan nipped Andretti Green Racing teammate Dan Wheldon by 0.0120 of a second at the finish line to win the Argent Mortgage Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway.

"It's been a while since I've won a race, so I'm very happy," Kanaan said. "I'm happy for the team. I think Dan has extended his lead. I'm solid in second place. That's all we need for Andretti Green Racing to win this championship again."

Kanaan's last victory was at Nashville Superspeedway last July, which is next on the 2005 IndyCar Series schedule. Wheldon, who started 13th, maintained his points lead over second-place Kanaan. It was the sixth-closest finish in series history.

"We didn't have a quick car all weekend, so to come in second and lead the most laps is good, but it's fantastic that my teammate won. I just didn't have a quick enough car to be dominant. It was an excellent job by Andretti Green Racing, so everyone is very, very happy."

Vitor Meira, who was runner-up to Buddy Rice last year at Kansas, finished third.

"I remember Homestead when we went three-wide with Tony (Kanaan) and I went outside, and it didn't work," said Meira, who has lost the last two IndyCar Series races at Kansas by approximately four feet combined. "Now I tried the inside. If I could keep my foot down and on the inside it's a little down hill, so that was my only shot. I tried outside on Wheldon when it was only me and him, but I couldn't make it."

Danica Patrick, who led the field to the green flag, finished ninth. It was the second time in IndyCar Series history that a woman started from the pole position (Sarah Fisher at Kentucky Speedway in August 2002).

POST-RACE QUOTES:

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, Winner of Argent Mortgage Indy 300):

"It's been a while since I've won a race, so I'm very happy. I'm happy for the team. I think Dan has extended his lead. I'm solid in second place. That's all we need for Andretti Green Racing to win this championship again. Let's keep the momentum up. It was a hard race, a really hard race." (About the close racing): "It was crazy at some points out there, but we kept it calm. The guys did a great job on the stops." (About the close finish): "The biggest nose always wins."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished second):

"We didn't have a quick car all weekend, so to come in second and lead the most laps is good, but it's fantastic that my teammate won. I just didn't have a quick enough car to be dominant. It was an excellent job by Andretti Green Racing, so everyone is very, very happy."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Menards Johns Manville Panoz/Honda/Firestone, finished third):

"I remember Homestead when we went three-wide with Tony (Kanaan) and I went outside and it didn't work. Now I tried the inside. If I could keep my foot down and on the inside it's a little down hill, so that was my only shot. I tried outside on Wheldon when it was only me and him, but I couldn't make it. Still it was a third place, and we were a little behind the whole day. I think the Menards Johns Manville crew made the difference. No mistakes, that's what we wanted."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fourth):

"It wasn't a bad day. I'm just surprised we ended up so far back. We were looking good say up to when we came out of that last stop. Tony and Dan were up the road, so I'm not sure why that was. We need to look into it. The car was plenty fast enough all day. The car was really quick. That wasn't the issue. The race car was very good. I knew the ArcaEx car was going to be quick in the race. I'm a little bit puzzled because Tony and I were running together, and he comes out of the pits two seconds up the road. Our pit stops looked good. Our ins and outs were good, but we're losing time someplace."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, finished fifth):

"We were pretty good, strong performance, more points in the book. The car finishes and we'll bring it back out for the next race and see if we can get it into victory lane." (About his move below the white line): "(Tony Kanaan) was running high and I was down low there. Then he would come across. As soon as I got a run he would come across pushing me over the white line. We were driving in the nose a little bit, but I helped Tony a little bit in the end there to get by. But we're good friends, so I think we'll speak about it afterwards."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone, finished sixth):

"It was an eventful day. It was an exciting back and forth race. We were chasing the handling a little bit early on which I think a lot of people did. The Delphi guys did a great job on our pit stops. We were able to get the car dialed in more and more and could really get ourselves up there in position. Then it was just a matter of the different strategy at the end of the race and trying to get as far forward as we could by the flag. I was able to get a few guys there at the end and salvage a good points finish."

DARREN MANNING (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone, finished seventh):

"It was a good race, all in all. In the beginning, the No. 10 Target Toyota was rather loose in Turns 1 and 2, but there was some big push in Turns 3 and 4. I just hung on until the midway point of the race and put myself into a good position with 20 laps to go. That's when the real race began for me. In the end, I tried to take another position by making a move on (Tomas) Scheckter, but in doing so, I ended up giving way to (Scott) Sharp and lost a spot instead. It wasn't what we were hoping for, but it's a good top-10 finish, nonetheless."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished eighth):

"We started the day strong, but the car developed some problems with the handling late in the first stint. Over the course of the race, we made some changes to improve the car, and I was able to bring it home in eighth. The Marlboro Team Penske crew did a great job making the necessary adjustments and putting me in the top 10 today. It was a tough race, but we were able to maximize our points with the car we had."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/ Firestone):

"It felt good to lead on that first lap, but I think our fifth gear wasn't quite fast enough. So I moved into the middle of the pack and tried to stay with the leaders. Overall, we made the car fastest through the day but it was frustrating when we dropped back a couple of times. The wind was problem from everybody out there today and that caused my car to develop a push. But the car was pretty good in most cases, and we were able to come back towards the leaders late in the race. Then we had to make a quick fuel stop at the end. We might have been a little better with the gears today. It was a little frustrating at times but we are a young team that is still leaning to work together. There were all kinds of little things that hampered us today, but we finished again. I think that is seven-straight finishes for us, and we are leading the rookie points."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/ Firestone, finished 10th):

"We tried to save fuel for the end and hoped for a yellow flag. It never came, so we pitted late, and that's where we finished. With one yellow lap, we could have stole the race. We didn't have the best car today. It just was pushing too much in the corners. I had to left a lot in the corners, or I was going to hit the fence. If we were four or five lengths back from a car and the car was fast, but in the pack, the car wouldn't turn. You could run in the top three with the lead pack or be out of the top 10. You needed good pit stops and good track position like most of the IRL races. This series is so competitive that you have to be on your game. You can't make a mistake or have an off day. There is no room for an error, and I was very positive coming into the race. The weather wasn't as hot as we thought."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished 12th.):

"The Marlboro Team Penske car was really strong, and we were able to run with the leaders for the first two-thirds of the race. Unfortunately, the car stalled as I went to pull out of the pit, which put us in the back of the field. We decided to come back in to top off the fuel and got caught out when the track went green. We lost the lead pack, and while the car was fast, we were too far behind to catch them. I guess that's how it goes sometimes. We just need to keep at it and hope for a better result in Nashville."

TOMAS ENGE (No. 2 ROCKSTAR Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, finished 11th):

"This race was great fun. All the time today, I was fighting in the front and racing with the guys in the top five. After each restart, I was patient and didn't want to take too many risks. I'm still getting experience on these types of tracks, and because today was so windy, it made it difficult for everybody, and especially for the rookies. I had a great car all day. Right now, I feel like our time is coming, and a solid result in our ROCKSTAR Chevy is right around the corner."

ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished 13th):

"We ran a really clean race with good pit stops and no real problems out on the track. The car was good, but we just couldn't find the power we needed. We had a great run a little more than half way through the race where we moved up some spots, but we just couldn't hold on. We also were playing with our fuel strategy, but it went green to the end, so it didn't hurt us or help us. Overall, I think we worked way to hard this weekend to end up 13th."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (No. 83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished 14th):

"We struggled today with finding the speed we needed. There was one point midway through the race where the car was pretty good and I was able to get by some guys. They were lifting and I was able to pass them but I wasn't able to stay with them. It's frustrating after the weekend we had in Richmond, where it was so much fun to drive. The guys did great pit stops and we did the best we could with what we had in the car."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished 16th):

"Overall it was a solid day. We made the car better throughout the race. We worked awful hard to get 16th, but we had a solid run. I'm upset we couldn't finish better, but I'm happy for the ABC team that everything went smooth."

***

The 10th season of IRL IndyCar competition continues with he Firestone Indy 200 at 7 p.m. (EDT) July 16 at Nashville Superspeedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The race also will be available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 "XM Extreme." The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Cleanevent 100 on July 16 at Nashville Superspeedway. It will be telecast at 3 p.m. (EDT) July 21 by ESPN2. The next episode of "The Fast Life," ESPN2's behind-the-scenes series about the IndyCar Series, airs at noon (EDT) on July 10.

-www.indyracing.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Jim Beam , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing