IRL: Sears Point: Race report

KANAAN SWEPT DAY FOR AGR AT INFINEON RACEWAY SONOMA, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005 -- Tony Kanaan found Victory Lane for the second time this season, winning the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway. Kanaan, the reigning IRL ...

KANAAN SWEPT DAY FOR AGR AT INFINEON RACEWAY

SONOMA, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005 -- Tony Kanaan found Victory Lane for the second time this season, winning the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway.

Kanaan, the reigning IRL IndyCar® Series champion, inherited the lead when his Andretti Green Racing teammate Dan Wheldon developed a fuel line problem on Lap 52. He led the rest of the way for a 1.1826-second victory over Buddy Rice. Red Bull Cheever Racing teammates Alex Barron and Patrick Carpentier were third and fourth, respectively. Tomas Enge finished fifth.

Kanaan, who started on the inside of Row 2, moved ahead of Sam Hornish Jr. into second in the standings with three events remaining --including the road-course race at Watkins Glen International in late September.

Polesitter Ryan Briscoe was eliminated in an incident that also knocked out the cars of Helio Castroneves and Danica Patrick. After a round of pit stops, during which Bryan Herta inherited the point, Briscoe made a move to the inside in Turn 7 on Lap 19, making contact with Patrick on his left. Castroneves' car was collected in the incident. All the drivers were checked at the infield care center and released.

ARGENT MORTGAGE INDY GRAND PRIX POST RACE QUOTES:

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, winner Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix): "I think we raced pretty smart. People are racing so hard for the front, and I just think we saved a lot of fuel and that was going to help us win the race. I had a very consistent car. The team did a great job. I'm ready to do it again."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone, finished second): "It's great to finally have a full-blown solid weekend. The pit stops were excellent like always. The car was good. (Engineer) Tim (Reiter) and I hit it off all weekend. We've been spot on, didn't make hardly any changes. The Honda power was awesome this weekend."

ALEX BARRON (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished third): "It was excellent. We had a great car all weekend. We made a good change there on the second stop. Went back out. The car was solid, and we were able to hang on to third. Didn't have quite enough to try and make a run on the leaders, but I could catch Buddy and sustain it, but wasn't able to be offensive. I'm really happy with the podium. It's our first podium of the season. Pretty positive for the team, and we'll build upon it for the next race in Chicago."

PATRICK CARPENTIER (No. 83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished fourth): "I'm very happy. The car was pushing too much at the end and when I stopped earlier on in the race. I didn't want to take a chance anyway. It was pretty fast. I'm very happy for Red Bull Cheever Racing. It's really amazing. For me the weekend started really badly, we didn't have any speed at all. We came up through the race, and we're fourth quickest overall. The guys did fantastic job. Toyota has been helping us quite a bit lately. We can start seeing the improvements."

TOMAS ENGE (No. 2 ROCKSTAR Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, finished fifth): "I had two small touches with people I was overtaking. We had a different fuel strategy. Unfortunately, we stopped once more than some of the other guys. I think the car was just great. The guys did a great job. The beginning of the race was just awesome for me. Compared to where we started at the beginning of the weekend on Friday, we have improved a lot."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone, finished 20th): "We weren't obviously running up front at the beginning, but we were trying to get there on fuel strategy. We moved up to sixth. I wasn't the fastest car. I was trying to settle into the best spot we could." (About the accident): "We went into Turn 6, and I gave some room to Helio. I thought he was going to go by. Then we went into Turn 7, Helio was to the left of me. I broke into my normal spot, where I had every lap, and right up inside came Briscoe. He was fast. Helio was fast. Ryan could've been more patient. I don't know if it was desperate or overanxious. It cost him, and I'm glad it did cost him. He made the mistake." (When told that Briscoe had apologized in an interview, and asked if she would accept it): "Yeah. Racing accidents happen all the time. I'm glad he owned up to it." (About her post-accident conversation with Castroneves): "I went over an said, 'Hey, I'm sorry.' He said, 'No, no, no, it wasn't your fault. You were doing a good job. Don't worry.'" (About the last few races): "It's disappointing. We were running good fuel strategy. It didn't happen for us today. I've had kind of a bad stretch of DNFs here in midseason, some my fault and some not. It's a whole learning process. I think I'm going to work this winter on doing whatever I need to do. It's frustrating to come to these weekends, and feel I'm behind the 8-ball because I don't have the experience with these big cars. Maybe I'll pass up a couple of media days to do it and then the 'media' (stories to tell) will be better."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone, finished seventh): "It was a tough race but we were much better than a seventh place finish. The no.9 Target Toyota was really easy to drive and while we had some understeer on the first stint we made the adjustments and it was getting much better. It was just so hard to pass here and the team prepared a much better car than it showed. It was frustrating to get a run and not make it passed car that weren't as strong as ours were."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "There were two things that hurt us today: the starting position, plus we didn't really have that good of a car. The warmup yesterday threw us off because the cars changed from Friday's practice. The car was completely different in the warmup and we made some changes, but the car went back to Friday's conditions. We had some pretty horrendous understeer. I made up a lot of places on the first lap but after that, I really couldn't make any headway. You just can't pass here, no matter how much slower the guy in front of you is, you just can't pass."

JEFF BUCKNUM (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, finished 10th): "We had to stay clean and out of trouble. We had a couple incidents, but they didn't hurt us too bad. I could see guys dive-bombing and the dust flying. Everyone was running qualifying laps out there. That's what this series is all about and that's what makes it fun. We stayed clean and the ABC Supple team came out with a top 10."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Menards Johns Manville Panoz/Honda/Firestone, finished ninth): "Our final position today doesn't really represent how good a car and how fast we were. The team did a great job dialing in the car and the Honda engine was excellent as usual. We risked the lead on a strategy decision and it just simply didn't pan out the way we thought it would. Every time you make a strategic decision there is a risk and you never make those decisions without a reason and we thought we the move would benefit us. We came here seventh in the championship and we are leaving in sixth place and we closed in on Scott Sharp for fifth place overall. Fifth is the goal. Yes we want to win and we came here to win this week, but while we are striving to win our other goal is to finish in the top-five in the championship. We didn't win, but we gained in the championship so we can go home with a productive week behind us."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 18th): "Today was a very disappointing day. We had some serious fueling problems throughout the race. Unfortunately, we were not able to get the finish we needed and that is very frustrating. We obviously lost some ground toward the championship, which makes Chicago a very important race. I'm hoping we can get back in the swing of things."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, finished 17th): "Unfortunately, I went off course in Turn 7 on the first lap and after that something went wrong with the clutch. My Marlboro Team Penske crew did a great job fixing the car and getting me back on track. We were able to pick up four spots and one more point, but most importantly, it gave me more seat time on a road course."

KOSUKE MATSUURA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz/Honda/Firestone, finished sixth): "It was a really good race. The car wasn't perfect. Every session this weekend we were sometimes more than two seconds slower than the quickest drivers. I was able to hold my position the last 25 laps which was a little bit difficult in meeting my fuel mileage (number). I had to save fuel but the last two laps I was able to run full rich. I am really happy to finish in the top six. I was really pushing hard to hold my position. I think I did my best, and my engineer (John Dick) did a good job, but we can't be happy because sixth place is not the winner of the race. We have to keep working hard to make a good car for Watkins Glen and hopefully we can end the season strong in the next three races."

***

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the Chicagoland Indy 300 at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). ESPN2's telecast of the Sonoma 100 will be shown at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 1 The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Chicagoland 100 on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. It will be telecast at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 15.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Enge , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Patrick Carpentier , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Alex Barron , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing