INCIDENT LEAVES TEAM 7-ELEVEN'S KANAAN WITH 18TH PLACE FINISH AT NAZARETH NAZARETH, Pa. (Aug. 24, 2003) -- Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan spent the first half of Sunday's Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway looking like the championship ...
INCIDENT LEAVES TEAM 7-ELEVEN'S KANAAN WITH 18TH PLACE FINISH AT NAZARETH
NAZARETH, Pa. (Aug. 24, 2003) -- Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan spent the first half of Sunday's Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway looking like the championship contender he's been since the series opened back on March 2. But, in the blink of an eye, contact with another car sent Kanaan into the outside wall, left him with an 18th place finish and changed his role for the remainder of the 2003 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series season.
Kanaan started third in the #11 Team 7-Eleven Honda-powered Dallara and then moved to second 52 laps into the race following a lightning-fast stop by his crew. When the race returned to green, Kanaan stalked leader Helio Castroneves and looked to be in a position to race for the win. However, on lap 120, Tomas Scheckter struck Kanaan's car from behind as the field negotiated turn two and sent both cars into the fence. Kanaan was uninjured in the incident, but was done for the day.
Castroneves went on to win the event -- his second victory in the past three races. Last week's winner Sam Hornish, Jr. drove to a second-place finish and was followed by Kanaan's teammate Bryan Herta, who recorded his third top-three finish of the season and second-in-a- row.
Kanaan's misfortune dropped him from the #1 spot in the series point standings -- a ranking he has enjoyed for nine of the 13 weeks this season. He now ranks third and trails new leader Castroneves by 32 points (429-397). Gil de Ferran sits second with 404 points, while Scott Dixon stands fourth with 387. Hornish remains in the fifth spot with 348 points.
The IndyCar Series continues on Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., with the Delphi Indy 300. Qualifying for Round 14 of the 16-race series is set for Saturday, Sept. 6.
TONY KANAAN, #11 TEAM 7-ELEVEN DALLARA/HONDA/FIRESTONE:
(WHAT HAPPENED IN THE INCIDENT WITH TOMAS SCHECKTER?) "I really don't know what happened. When you race close to each other, sometimes that happens. Somebody hit me from behind. Helio [Castroneves] was trying pass Kenny [Brack] and we all slowed down to get into the corner. It looks like Tomas [Scheckter] must not have seen me and hit me from the back. It's a tough break because this is when we need the points. But, it's just racing, so let's go on to the next one."
KIM GREEN, PRESIDENT, ANDRETTI GREEN RACING:
(ON THE INCIDENT WITH SCHECKTER) "I guess my only hope is that that was a racing accident because it looked like either a pretty inexperienced or dumb move by another driver. We were racing very strongly all day. We had a fantastic first pit stop by our guys, including a full tank of fuel. It was just a great pit stop.
"We were in a position to win the race, and in a worst-case scenario -- finish second. Obviously, this is big dent in the championship. We just handed a lot of points to Team Penske. It's just very unfortunate. Obviously, I'm very, very mad about the driving by Scheckter. It just spoils our day, for sure."