IRL: Michigan: AGR/Kanaan race report

BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 27, 2003) -- Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan drove from his 15th starting position to fifth on the opening lap of the race and ran among the top-five all day, but lost his bid for a victory when a mechanical problem...

BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 27, 2003) -- Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan drove from his 15th starting position to fifth on the opening lap of the race and ran among the top-five all day, but lost his bid for a victory when a mechanical problem ended his day early in the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Kanaan, who ended the day with a 16th place finish and just his second DNF of the year, battled with the lead pack through the first three-quarters of the race after charging from his starting spot on the inside of the eighth row. The 28-year-old Brazilian blew past half the field in the opening two-miles of the 400-mile race to put himself in a position to contend for his second win of the 2003 season.

However, while sitting in fourth on a restart with 49 laps to go, Kanaan began to fade and dropped to seventh before reporting a loss of power in his #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Kanaan brought his machine to pit road where his crew took a deeper look at the problem, only to find out the issue was beyond repair.

Mo Nunn Racing driver Alex Barron, who is subbing for the injured Felipe Giaffone, took the victory at Michigan over Sam Hornish Jr. in the fourth-closest finish in Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series history. Pole-sitter Tomas Scheckter finished third.

Kanaan's tough day at Michigan dropped him to second in the IndyCar^Ù Series championship standings, but only by one point to new leader Scott Dixon. Gil de Ferran now sits third, just two points behind Kanaan.

The IRL IndyCar Series resumes on Aug. 10 with the Emerson Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway.

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

"We're not sure what happened. All of a sudden we lost a lot of speed. It's a shame. But, hey -- Honda did a great job of giving me a fast engine, the whole Team 7-Eleven gave me great pit stops and we had a great race up until then. Days like this will happen. We knew it could happen to us and today was the day.

"That's racing. It's better that his happened now instead of in the last race (of the year). We still have a chance to recover. We'll have a good car in St. Louis. Let's go from that one. Today is done, so let's not think about what we lost. Let's think about what we have to gain."

(ON PICKING UP 10 SPOTS ON THE OPENING LAP) "I followed Michael Andretti's instructions and it worked pretty well. It was a hell of a start."

KIM GREEN, PRESIDENT, ANDRETTI GREEN RACING:

"Everybody did a great job. We had great pit stops. We certainly weren't happy with our qualifying, but we worked hard on race setup all weekend and you could see we had a great race car. We were just biding our time. Nevertheless, we're disappointed. But, we'll re-focus. I think we had a really good test in St. Louis. The next three races are really going to make the difference in the championship."

- AGR -

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Alex Barron , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mo Nunn