Title Battle Tightens as Kanaan Wins Kentucky Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan dominated the Miejer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night, scoring his second consecutive IndyCar Series race win and a league-leading fourth...
Title Battle Tightens as Kanaan Wins Kentucky
Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan dominated the Miejer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night, scoring his second consecutive IndyCar Series race win and a league-leading fourth victory of 2007 to move into title contention with three races remaining.
Starting second, Kanaan traded the early lead with teammate and championship leader Dario Franchitti for the first half of the 200-lap contest, then out raced Scott Dixon and A.J. Foyt IV to post his 11th career IndyCar victory.
Franchitti saw his once substantial championship lead cut to just eight points by a trio of incidents. After running battling Dixon for second place for more than 30 laps, Franchitti slid high in Turn Four on Lap 166, dropping him to sixth as he slowed to regain control. The second took place during the final round of pit stops on Lap 178. Attempting to gain time on his pit entry, Franchitti slid wide and struck the pit lane speed limit marker, damaging his right front wing. The resulting repairs dropped him to eighth on the restart.
Then, at the checkers and unaware the race had just ended, Franchitti struck the slowing car of Kosuke Matsuura and for the second consecutive race weekend flipped wildly in the air, landing upright after contacting the Turn One wall. Both drivers escaped injury in the spectacular crash.
The finish line drama overshadowed Dixon's second place finish, his 11th top-four finish in 14 races as the Target Chip Ganassi driver has now almost completely closed the championship points gap to Franchitti with just three races remaining. In addition Vision Racing's A.J. Foyt IV had his career best IndyCar result with a third-place finish, leading three times for a total of 13 laps, his first laps led this season.
Marco Andretti's fourth place was another strong finish, his fifth top five in the last seven races, as the sophomore IndyCar continues to rebound after a tough start to 2007. Tomas Scheckter rounded out the top five in his Vision Racing Honda, equaling his best finish this year, followed by Rahal Letterman Racing's Scott Sharp in sixth and Ed Carpenter finishing seventh, putting all three Vision Racing cars in the top seven.
After a one-week break, the 2007 IndyCar Series concludes with three consecutive race weekends, starting August 26 with the Infineon Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.
Tony Kanaan (#11 Andretti Green Racing Honda) Started 1st, finished 1st, series-leading fourth victory in 2007, 11th career IndyCar victory, closes to within 52 points of the championship lead: "The car was really good all weekend, my team did an excellent job. I've never had two [IndyCar] wins in a row. We've got to keep taking things one race at a time, just focus on winning races and let then the championship will take care of itself. This was a special weekend for me. My [late] dad's birthday was Friday. This one's for you, dad. And thank God that Dario [Franchitti] is okay. That's twice in two weeks for him. I know he likes to fly, but he needs to stick to his helicopter and quit flying the race car!"
Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 4th, finished 2nd , closed to within eight points of championship leader Dario Franchitti: "Well, if you can't finish first, try and finish second! It was a tough, long day for us. We just didn't have the speed to match [Tony] Kanaan today. The team gave me a real good car, and the pit stops were excellent, but Tony was untouchable. The pit work helped get me around Dario [Franchitti] and after that I just hung on to the low line, Dario wasn't quite able to get around me on the high side. We've certainly closed up the gap to him in the points, but I believe this championship is going to go all the way down to the final race."
Roger Griffiths (Race Team Technical Leader, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "Well, once again we're relieved that everyone is okay after another race with some spectacular crashes. It was another weekend of 100 per cent reliability for Honda on the mechanical side of things, but I'm afraid we will be replacing a lot of crash-damaged engines for the second week in a row. The back-to-back wins for Tony Kanaan certainly closed up the championship, and I think we're going to have a great title fight in the final three races. Two of them are road races, but all three contenders are excellent road racers as well."
-credit: honda racing