Tony Kanaan was in the right place at the right time Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway, successfully avoiding contact just in front of his Andretti Green Racing machine, and then holding off a strong challenge from Sam Hornish Jr. in the...
Tony Kanaan was in the right place at the right time Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway, successfully avoiding contact just in front of his Andretti Green Racing machine, and then holding off a strong challenge from Sam Hornish Jr. in the closing laps to score his third IndyCar Series win of the season.
Starting fifth, Kanaan ran in the lead group throughout the first three-quarters of the 200-lap contest. When teammate Dan Wheldon and Buddy Rice made hard contact while battling for the lead on a Lap 178 restart, Kanaan just scraped through the incident, briefly brushing against Rice but continuing without significant damage. Kanaan went on to lead the final 18 laps, but first had to hold off the attacks from Hornish. Going into the final two corners, Hornish attempted to pass both high and low, but Kanaan resisted the challenge to bring Honda its seventh consecutive IndyCar race win in eight events this year.
For much of the race, however, Rahal Letterman Racing teammates Rice and Vitor Meira were the cars to beat. Meira led a race-high total of 113 laps, but encountered problems on his third pit stop when he was waved out while the fuel vent hose was still attached. The resulting delay dropped the Brazilian all the way to 15th place, but Meira quickly charged back through the field. He was running sixth on Lap 185 when transmission problems dramatically slowed his pace for a 12th-place finish.
Indy 500 winner Rice took over at the front on Lap 114 and maintained his advantage until the final round of pit stops on Lap 166. Wheldon then emerged in front, until Rice made his bid to regain the lead and the pair collided. Both continued, but only after pit stops for repairs. Rice stayed on the lead lap to finish sixth, while Wheldon was forced to make one final stop for a tire change and fell back to 13th.
After starting the year with Panther Racing, Mark Taylor made his debut with Access Motorsports in Nashville, and was the top rookie finisher in seventh, a best-ever result both for himself and the Access team, which was only formed in 2003. Teammates Kosuke Matsuura and Adrian Fernandez also posted strong runs, finishing ninth and tenth, respectively. Bryan Herta was eliminated in a one-car crash on Lap 161 while Dario Franchitti dropped out early with transmission failure.