IRL: Pikes Peak: AGR, Kanaan race report

Kanaan, Team 7-Eleven, Finish Fifth At Pikes Peak Honda Indy 225; Extend Points Lead to 68 Over Rice FOUNTAIN, Colo. (Aug. 22, 2004) - Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan realized that he might not have had a car capable of winning Sunday, but he...

Kanaan, Team 7-Eleven, Finish Fifth At Pikes Peak Honda Indy 225; Extend Points Lead to 68 Over Rice

FOUNTAIN, Colo. (Aug. 22, 2004) - Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan realized that he might not have had a car capable of winning Sunday, but he also new that if he could get another top-five finish he could extend his lead in the point standings.  That's just what he did by earning a fifth-place finish Sunday afternoon at the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti earned his second victory of the season and the seventh win for Andretti Green Racing this season.  Following Franchitti across the finish line was Adrian Fernandez, while Klein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon finished third and Helio Castroneves was fourth.

Kanaan started the event from the pole position, having earned the position based on practice speeds as Saturday's qualifying session was rained out. He immediately bolted the #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone into the lead and paced the first 29 laps before being passed in traffic by Franchitti.

However, his car lost balance during long stints. He slipped back to seventh place before making his first pit stop under green-flag conditions on lap 81. He remained in the top-10 over the next 70 laps, methodically working his way towards the leaders.

When leader Sam Hornish Jr. made contact in Turn 4, Kanaan paced the field during the following pit cycle and earned his 30th lap led during the event. As a result, he became the IndyCar Series single-season lap leader, having led 813 laps this season

With his fifth-place finish, combined with Buddy Rice's early exit, Kanaan extended his lead in the IndyCar Series point standings to 68 over Rice and 82 points over third place Wheldon.

Kanaan and the rest of the IndyCar Series teams return to action August 29 at Nazareth Speedway for the Firestone Indy 225. The event, which will represent the 100th IRL IndyCar Series event, will be televised live by ABC Sports, beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.

Tony Kanaan, #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"I drove a conservative race. We chased the Team 7-Eleven car all day. We made the car better and then we made the car worse. Towards the end I had a pretty good battle with my teammates. If we were to finish fifth every race, I think we could win the championship. We just need to capitalize on all our opportunities and stay focused."

Kim Green, President, Andretti Green Racing:

"Today was a great day for the whole team. Dario was obviously the man to beat, but there were a lot of strong cars today. We chased the Team 7-Eleven car all day. We just really didn't have the best race car today, but Tony did a hell of a job making the most of everything. We just need to keep doing what we're doing, and that's to be solid and keep having great pit stops. I'm just very, very proud of everybody on the team."

-agr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Adrian Fernandez , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Kim Green , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr.