IRL: Pikes Peak: AGR/Kanaan race report

Kanaan pilots Team 7-Eleven machine to another second place finish at Pikes Peak FOUNTAIN, Colo. (June 15, 2003) -- Just as he did last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Tony Kanaan worked all day to put his ...

Kanaan pilots Team 7-Eleven machine to another second place finish at Pikes Peak

FOUNTAIN, Colo. (June 15, 2003) -- Just as he did last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Tony Kanaan worked all day to put his #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone in a position to contend for the win Sunday in the Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. But, unfortunately for Kanaan, lapped traffic prevented another push for his second victory of the season and left him with his second consecutive runner-up finish.

Kanaan, who started on the pole based on practice speeds after qualifying was rained out on Saturday, settled in among the leaders during the first third of the race -- running no worse than sixth at any point. After his first pit stop of the day on lap 90, Kanaan returned to the track in the third position, where he would run the middle stint of the race until lap 149 when he climbed to second behind leader Scott Dixon.

Kanaan battled his teammate, Dario Franchitti -- who was making his first start in nearly three months -- for the runner-up spot with less than 50 laps to go, relinquishing the spot and then retaking it on lap 180. Kanaan then closed on Dixon and appeared to be reeling him in when Dixon's teammate, Tomas Scheckter, pitted and returned to the racetrack just in front of Kanaan. With Kanaan trapped behind the lapped car of Scheckter, Dixon extended his lead to a comfortable margin and went on to post his second win of the 2003 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar^Ù Series season.

Gil de Ferran finished third, while Franchitti went on to post a fourth-place finish. Two- time defending series champion Sam Hornish, Jr. drove to a fifth-place finish.

Kanaan's fifth top five finish of the season expanded his lead in the series' championship standings to 49 points over Dixon, 217-168, after six of 16 events. Three drivers are tied for third with 167 points -- Helio Castroneves, Al Unser, Jr. and de Ferran.

The IRL IndyCar^Ù Series is off next weekend, but returns to action on Saturday, June 28, with a race under the lights at Richmond International Raceway.

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

"The handling of the car wasn't very good at the beginning of the race, but we made it better. The whole Team 7-Eleven did a great job. We scored a bunch of championship points and stayed in the lead. That's what we need. That's good. I'm glad to finish second, but I'm ready to win again."

YOU HADN'T SEEN THE RACETRACK UNTIL YESTERDAY--DID YOU LIKE IT ONCE YOU GOT GOING?

"Yes, I did. I didn't at first, but it's always a learning experience when it's your first race here. It was a good team effort. Dario [Franchitti] did a great job. It was his first race back and he was really strong. He helped me out big-time, so I need to thank my teammate, as well."

KIM GREEN, PRESIDENT, ANDRETTI GREEN RACING:

"The first part of the race we struggled a little bit with the car, but got the car sorted out. I think the guys in the pits did a great job.

The race result -- you don't know. It would have been nice to have had a chance to race one-on-one with Scott Dixon. I'm not at all happy with the way a lapped car (Scheckter) came out of the pits and seemed to conveniently get in the way of us, but not in the way of the leader. But, I guess that's racing. We've just got to get a better race car and make sure we give Tony everything he needs, come out of the pits first and then we won't have that issue."

- AGR -

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Al Unser Sr. , Sam Hornis