Tony Kanaan Leads Three Team Chevy Drivers to Top-Five Finishes at Fontana
Juan Pablo Montoya Extends Points Lead with Fourth Place Finish
FONTANA, CALIF. (June 27, 2015) – Tony Kanaan started the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in sixth, and finished second in a hotly contested MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Kanaan ran near the front of the field for virtually the entire 250-lap race and was credited with leading 11 times for 23 laps. The race had an Indy car record 80 lead changes among 14 drivers around the 2.0-mile track.
He was in contention to win in what was set to be a three-lap shoot-out to the checkered flag following a red-flag for an accident, but one lap after what was the final restart a crash as the field came to the white flag ended the race under yellow. Kanaan, the 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and winner of the 2013 Indianapolis 500, came to the caution in second place behind race winner Graham Rahal and claimed the runner-up finishing position as the field took the checkered flag. Kanaan moved from ninth to eighth in the standings.
Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, scored his seventh top-five finish in the 11 races. The fourth- place run extended his lead in the point standings over teammate and defending champion Will Power, No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet, with five races remaining in the 2015 season. Power was relegated to a disappointing 19th-place finish after contact ended his day on the 241st lap.
Sage Karam, No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet, led his first Verizon IndyCar Series laps and captured his career-best finish, taking the checkered flag in fifth place to give the Chevrolet Aero Kit with fully integrated 2.2 liter V6 engine drivers three of the top-five finishers.
Team Chevy drivers captured six of the top-nine finishing positions in today’s race. Three-time champion Scott Dixon, No. 9 Degree Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, finished sixth to maintain third in the standings heading to the Milwaukee Mile in two weeks.
Charlie Kimball, No. 83 LevmirFlexPen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, finished eighth, and pole winner Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Team Penske Chevrolet, finished ninth.
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet, remains fifth in the standings to give Chevrolet four of the top-five points getters to this point in the season after contact ended his day and he was scored as the 23rd place finisher. .
Next on the schedule will be the famed Milwaukee Mile on July 12, 2015. Live television coverage provided by NBCSN. Fans can listen on the IndyCar Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR 15 app.
An Interview with Tony Kanaan
THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and begin today’s Verizon IndyCar Series post‑race press conference. We’re pleased to be joined by our second‑place finisher Tony Kanaan. Tony finished second at Texas this year. This is his 74th top‑three finish, his third in 2015. You were up front for almost the entire race. Talk a little bit about your thoughts on the race and just the atmosphere out there. It seemed like a very exciting race.
TONY KANAAN: Yeah, exciting for you guys, that’s for sure. A little crazy for us, but yeah, I tried to stay in the front all day just to try to stay out of trouble. It was a little bit of a closer race than we expected to be, but at the end, I think we all survived. A long day, very stressful, and fortunately we ended up under the yellow. We tried not to, so for the fans who would like to see a checkered flag under the green, but we tried; we red flag it with five to go and went back to green with three to go.
All in all, not a bad result, but obviously we came up a little short.
- Tell us how we have the conversation with the fans that you don’t want pack racing and they want close racing. How do you walk that line with people?
TONY KANAAN: It’s a fine line. It’s definitely a fine line, but I think if I wasn’t expecting ‑‑ in the middle of the race, I thought, man, the fans must be loving it, so hopefully we can pack this place when we come back if we’re going to keep racing like this. But for us, people have to understand how stressful it is, and obviously we get paid and we are who we are because we can do this, but we can’t forget that we lost ‑‑ I lost my best friend in exactly the same way in 2011.
I understand what the fans want, and if we ‑‑ if you say we’re going to have 100,000 people here and this is what we’re going to do, I agree with you that we need to put it out there. To have 5,000 people out there and do this, it’s stupid. To be honest with you, it’s not anybody’s fault. We can’t say we chose the right or the wrong aero package because this is new, right? We went to Texas and it was okay, but I heard a lot of criticism about it being a boring race. So like you said, I don’t have the answer. How can we make it so we can keep the drivers happy and the fans happy? I really don’t. I wish we ‑‑ over the course of this year we can come up with something that ‑‑ a compromise for both of us, but really right now I won’t know what to tell you.
- AJ Foyt said he loved racing like this when he was racing the car. Ed Carpenter just Tweeted, I love close IndyCar racing. Hate to see drivers badmouthing the series. If you want to race, race. If not, retire. How do you respond to that? You said that there’s 5,000 people here, and if there were 100,000 people you might want to race that way. That seems a little disingenuous to me.
TONY KANAAN: Why?
- You want more people here than less?
TONY KANAAN: Are you risking your life out there? You’re not. You’re sitting in a chair and writing about it. So if you feel this way and you lose your best friend, you might say something like that. I have an opinion, and this is my opinion, so I hope you respect that.
- Tony Is there something different here at the California Auto Club Speedway, I think it’s like 12 or 14 degrees of banking, I saw four and five wide, just crazy driving, because I was up in the skybox, but how is that different from the Indianapolis 500 where the last 20 laps it was very exciting, somewhat flat track, and then Texas, we had cars going two wide sometimes, I think you and Helio went around for a couple of laps. How come here we have the pack racing?
TONY KANAAN: It’s a different package. It’s a different aero package. Those three tracks that you mentioned we didn’t race the same ‑‑ with none of them. Indy was one package, Texas one was another one, and here was another one, so here we had more downforce than we ever had in the past two years, I think, two or three years, so that’s what happens. When you add downforce, you can run multiple lanes, and when you run multiple lanes, you just have a pack racing.
- Midway through the race, there was a tailwind. How did it affect the aero kit performance of your cars? Did it create push, more downforce, what?
TONY KANAAN: No, you just have to go through the gears quicker. Basically you’re arriving quicker to one end of the track and arriving slower to the other end. When you have a tailwind like that, it really doesn’t affect it. It makes your car actually to push a little bit going into the corner when you have a tailwind, and it’s a little bit on the nose where you have the headwind. It’s not really ‑‑ like the wind, I couldn’t really tell it was bad. I mean, before this, I don’t think we could tell.
TONY KANAAN: No, it was not talked about because we didn’t know what to expect. We all had an idea, but we had an idea in Texas, and it didn’t go the way we thought it was going to go. If you look, we choose to run a lot of downforce and a lot of people didn’t and it ended up working for us. Here we did not know, so I don’t think it was ‑‑ again, I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault, it’s just the nature of the track, the package that we chose. A lot of people like it, a lot of people don’t. This is just the way it is.
I think it’s good for everybody to have an opinion, and again, we need to ‑‑ if we agree with everything, it would be boring. I think for sure IndyCar is going to think about it. We’re going to talk between, among ourselves, among the drivers, and at the end of the day, we’re the ones driving, and we’re going to give our opinion and maybe we’ll be heard, because the last time that we talked, we lost a hell of a guy, and I would hate to see something like that ever again.
- Going forward, there are three more ovals, and Milwaukee and Iowa are both short tracks, so you’ll have a different package for that, but then there’s Pocono. So that gives you time to discuss with the officials maybe making a change. I don’t know if the same effect from the pack racing here, if you don’t change anything would occur there, but what I think you’re saying is you don’t want the cars to have so much downforce that they’re too easy to drive, that everybody is close together; is that it?
TONY KANAAN: Yeah. I don’t think Pocono will be the case. It’s not the nature of that track. I think the two tracks that we were really close running was Texas and here, and those are behind us, so we need to get together and try to make sure that we find a solution for next year, whatever that is.
- Tony, on the last white flag lap, I don’t know if I saw the white flag, but it seemed to me that you went across the line ahead of Graham. Am I incorrect?
TONY KANAAN: No, I crossed the line behind him, then I was making a pass, so I don’t know how they determined ‑‑ I think if that’s the timeline, before the yellow came out, he was ahead. But when I saw the yellow, I was ahead. But it’s ‑‑ yeah, I don’t know what they did, if they go back to the previous timing line, he was definitely ahead of me.
- But was it fun?
TONY KANAAN: We’re all professional race car drivers. Whatever the package you’re going to give us, we’re going to go out and do it. Whoever doesn’t want to do it doesn’t have to jump in the car and do it, but I haven’t met a single driver that did that.
- Did you have fun?
TONY KANAAN: I’m not going to say I had fun. It was a nerve‑wracking race. But to me every day on the racetrack is fun. So yeah, I guess I did. Did I like it a lot, no. But there are many things that I don’t like that they go without saying. I think it’s ‑‑ again, I think it was a heck of a show for the fans.