LONG BEACH, Calif.—Turn lemons into lemonade. That will be the challenge for Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist tomorrow.
Kanaan, who had run in the top-12 in yesterday’s practice sessions, was optimistic about his chances for breaking through Round 1 in qualifying. However, this morning’s practice session had the team exploring its options in setup changes as the car was not as happy as yesterday.
In qualifying, Kanaan was running sixth out of 11 drivers in Group 1 as all were getting ready to log their “money” lap. Kanaan clipped the inside wall which shot his No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet into the tire barrier in Turn 6, ending his chances abruptly. He emerged uninjured but deeply disappointed.
“Somehow we lost our way last night and it was my fault trying to make up for something that we don’t have,” said Kanaan, who will start 21st after losing his two fastest laps because his accident brought out the red flag and stopped the session. “It’s frustrating, I shouldn’t have made the mistake, I should have known better but that’s my competitive side. I’m always going to try to do better and it’s frustrating. Somewhere, somehow last night we lost our way, so we’ve got to regroup tonight and hopefully we’ll have a better race car for tomorrow.”
Leist will start 20th after struggling in practice yesterday and today.
“Unfortunately things didn’t go our way, we’re struggling a little bit with the car,” said Leist, who posted a time of 1 minute, 7.7317 seconds (104.601mph). “I was just not comfortable driving the car today, pretty much the whole weekend. Hopefully things are going to start to get better. We still have a warm-up tomorrow so we’ll see if we can make some improvements to have a good race car.”
Alexander Rossi won the NTT P1 Award for the second straight year on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street circuit with a time of 1 minute, 6.4811 seconds (106.569 mph). Scott Dixon will start second, his best qualifying effort to date in this race. Rounding out the Firestone Fast 6 are: Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, and Graham Rahal.
There will be a 30-minute warmup tomorrow for teams to tweak their race setups. The race will be broadcast live on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network starting at 4 p.m. ET.