The last time Tony Kanaan stood on the highest step of a podium post-race was June 28, 2008. For a driver considered to be the leader of a well funded, well equipped IndyCar team, the dry spell must have been particularly frustrating. Given his previous history at the short oval in Iowa (three DNFs in the past 3 years), this weekend’s race was an unlikely venue for the Andretti Autosport driver’s luck to turn around.
But turn around it did. Kanaan’s blend of patience, skill and the use of lapped traffic earned him the victory when he passed Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves with eleven laps remaining. Castroneves went on to finish second, and E.J. Viso (KV Racing Technologies) finished third.
Turn two of the 7/8 mile oval had a voracious appetite for drivers, collecting Justin Wilson (who took out Mario Moraes in the process), Sarah Fisher and Takuma Sato. Sato, the former F1 pilot, was having a great race despite his lack of experience on short ovals, clawing his way to third before falling victim to turn two.
Next up is Watkins Glen on July 4, followed by Toronto on July 18th. The good news for IndyCar fans is that both races are televised; the bad news is that they’re televised on ABC, whose coverage of auto racing leaves much to be desired. Your best bet is to record both races so you can fast forward through the plentiful commercials. Don’t expect to see much action (or get much intelligent commentary), but at least you’ll learn to appreciate Versus’ coverage of the remainder of the season.