IRL: Texas: AGR/Kanaan race report

Team 7-Eleven's Kanaan charges to second in another exciting Texas finish FT. WORTH, Texas. (June 7, 2003) -- The day before the Bombardier 500k, Team 7-Eleven knew that two of the keys to a successful night would be patience and getting...

Team 7-Eleven's Kanaan charges to second in another exciting Texas finish

FT. WORTH, Texas. (June 7, 2003) -- The day before the Bombardier 500k, Team 7-Eleven knew that two of the keys to a successful night would be patience and getting through traffic. Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan took those keys to heart and made the most of both factors on the way to a heart-stopping second-place finish in Round 5 of the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar^Ù Series at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kanaan started fourth in the 22-car field and -- with the exception of green-flag pit stop sequencing -- never ran outside the top five over the course of the 200-lap distance. The 28-year-old Brazilian hovered among the top four through the first 165 laps, swapping positions occasionally with his closest competitors. Kanaan waited for an opportunity to close on leader Al Unser, Jr., and with 35 laps to go, used lapped traffic to do just that as he bolted from fourth to second.

From there, it was a shootout between the top two, eventually coming down to a final lap restart. Kanaan shot to the outside of Unser Jr., at the start/finish line and took the lead as the two worked through the high banks of turns one and two. But, Unser Jr., surged back before the final two corners, held off Kanaan and went on to take the victory.

Tora Takagi finished third, followed by Kenny Brack and fellow Andretti Green Racing driver Bryan Herta, who made his IRL debut on Saturday night in place of the injured Dario Franchitti.

The IRL IndyCar Series now moves to Pikes Peak International Raceway for the next round of the 16-race schedule, slated for next Sunday afternoon. The race will air live on ABC Sports.

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

ON THE FINAL LAP

"I set him (Al Unser, Jr.) up, but it didn't work. He was a little bit quicker than me and got a run on me. He did a good job. "We're looking at the championship and that is what really counts."

YOU DID A GREAT JOB IN TRAFFIC WITH 35 TO GO, MOVING FROM FOURTH TO SECOND--

"It is all about opportunities. I saw an opportunity, I took it and it worked. We're not taking a lot of risks, but we're doing a good job. We know where we need to improve and we're working together as a team to do that."

Bombardier 500k
Finish 2nd
Start 4th
Laps Led 1
Race Points 40
Series Points 177
Points Position 1st

KIM GREEN, PRESIDENT, ANDRETTI GREEN RACING:

"Tony drove a real heads-up race all day. I think we did a good job on strategy and had great pit stops. Track position is a big advantage at this place. All the cars are very, very equal. Tony made a hell of a run on several restarts and made some great passes, so I'm really proud of him. I thought he was going to get it done. The outside has won a lot of races at this place. But, it was a great job by Al (Unser) Jr. He drove really clean. Al did a great job all day. We'll take second and, obviously, a lot of points in the championship."

- AGR -

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Al Unser Sr.