IRL: Michigan: Honda race report

Kanaan Prevails in Wild Michigan Run On a day when more than half the IndyCar Series field was eliminated by crashes, Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan bested teammate Marco Andretti in a final 10-lap duel to win Sunday's Firestone Indy 400 ...

Kanaan Prevails in Wild Michigan Run

On a day when more than half the IndyCar Series field was eliminated by crashes, Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan bested teammate Marco Andretti in a final 10-lap duel to win Sunday's Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan Speedway. It was Kanaan's third victory of the season, and kept his championship hopes alive with four races remaining.

Today's 200-lap event was delayed almost five hours from its scheduled noon EDT start by morning rain showers, with the 20-car field finally getting the green flag just before 5 p.m. EDT. Kanaan started eighth, but quickly moved into the lead group, then somehow managed to a multi-car crash on Lap 143 that involved nine cars in the lead group, eliminating three on the spot, with three more eventually retiring due to crash-related damage.

The crash was triggered when pole qualifer and early leader Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon made wheel-to-wheel contact while contesting the lead, sending Franchitti upside down and high into the air, eventually landing on top of championship rival Scott Dixon. Franchitti escaped uninjured from his overturned machine and finished a "lucky" 13th. Wheldon, Tomas Scheckter and Ed Carpenter also were eliminated in the crash, but all drivers escaped serious injury. The cars of Dixon, A.J. Foyt IV and Sam Hornish Jr. were heavily damaged, with Dixon and Hornish making only brief returns to the track, while Foyt was able to finish the race in eighth.

Crashes earlier in the race ended the day for Jon Herb; Vitor Meira and Helio Castroneves; Sarah Fisher and Darren Manning. Manning and Castroneves received minor leg injuries, but both were released after treatment at the infield medical center.

Danica Patrick was one of the few lead-pack cars to escape damage in the multi-car wreck, and looked like a potential race winner, but was forced to pit on Lap 186 to replace a deflating right rear tire, ending the chance for her first IndyCar victory. She finished seventh.

Scott Sharp's Rahal Letterman Racing Honda was damaged in the Lap 143 crash, striking the back of Kosuke Matsuura's Super Aguri Panther Racing entry. But quick pit work by both teams led to Sharp and Matsuura contesting third place in the closing laps. Sharp claimed the position by less than a tenth of a second at the checkers, while fourth for Matsuura equaled his best previous IndyCar result. Buddy Rice rounded out the top five for Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, his third top-five finish of the season.

Tony Kanaan (#11 Andretti Green Racing Honda) Started 8th, finished 1st, third victory in 2007, 10th career IndyCar victory: "We had a fast car today and 'the kid' [Marco Andretti] was an excellent 'wingman'. Marco is a true teammate. I felt sorry for Dario [Franchitti], but it's more important that he's okay. It certainly wasn't a boring race. It was a crazy day, but we were lucky today. For the final ten laps, there were no team orders between Marco and myself, it was going to be me or him. We raced each other clean. I held my line on the bottom and I think I was just a bit faster there. Marco tried the high side but wasn't quite quick enough. It's a great 1-2 finish for the team, and helps us in the championship as well."

Marco Andretti (#26 Andretti Green Racing Honda) Started 13th, finished 2nd , the second time this season he has finished second to a teammate (Franchitti and Andretti were 1-2 at Iowa): "I was glad to see it come down to the two of us (Kanaan and Andretti). My car was very fast running in the pack, but not quite as strong at the end when it was just Tony and myself. I tried to hold Tony down on the bottom as much as possible, but wasn't fast enough to go the 'long way' around him. But he's my teacher, and I learned so much from him today. After our struggles earlier this year on the ovals, it's great to have another strong result."

Robert Clarke (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "It's a shame that the big crash ended the day for so many contenders, but we're grateful that everyone is apparently uninjured. And we did have an exciting finish with Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti taking their battle all the way to the end.

Congratulations to both of them and the entire Andretti Green Racing organization. Once again, it was a weekend of perfect reliability for the Honda Indy V-8 engine, and that's always our primary goal. Thanks to all the fans who stuck it out through the long rain delay. They ended up seeing a pretty entertaining finish."

-credit: honda

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Darren Manning , Sarah Fisher , Jon Herb , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , A.J. Foyt IV , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Marco Andretti , Kosuke Matsuura , Robert Clark , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing