FORT WORTH – At the home track of his boss A.J. Foyt, Tony Kanaan has made Texas Motor Speedway his own. In 18 starts, he has finished on the podium nine times!
Kanaan will start sixth in the DXC Technology 600km tomorrow night in his 19th start here. He was quickest in practice this afternoon under hot sunny conditions but that time was also with the benefit of a tow. His ‘no tow speed’ was sixth quick so the grid position did not come as a surprise to him.
“A good run,” Kanaan summed up after his two-lap average speed of 219.157mph in
the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet. “I didn’t think we were going to have it for the pole anyway so I think if we’re in the top six, it’s a good spot to start and a great way to start the weekend. I think we have a good car for the race. I think we’re improving as a team every weekend so hopefully this will be a turnaround. Our best finish was last weekend so we’ll try to do a lot better than seventh."
Matheus ‘Matt’ Leist had a mechanical problem in practice which the team did not sort out until after the practice session so he was not able to run a qualifying setup until his qualifying run. Posting a two-lap average speed of 216.092mph, Leist will start 19th in his No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet.
However, the youngster was matter-of-fact about the challenges he faced here and said, “We had a mechanical problem in practice and it was a completely different car to drive in qualifying but we are racing drivers and we just have to adapt to everything.”
With it being his first time at the 1.5-mile, high-banked track, Leist had a lot to adapt to in the 90-minute long practice session, of which 30 minutes were set aside by INDYCAR for teams to scuff in tires as a safety precaution for tomorrow night’s race because of the high heat this weekend. The extra heat cycle makes the tires a bit harder and less subject to blistering.
“It’s a pretty difficult track to be honest, not that easy,” Leist said after his qualifying run. “Really just trying to go step by step, I think we have a great car here and I look forward to the race tomorrow. I know it’s going to be a long race and it’s been a tough one the past few years so hopefully we will have a good one.”
Team Penske swept the first three spots with defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden taking the pole with an average speed of 220.613mph. Second through fifth were: Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Robert Wickens and Sebastien Bourdais.
The race will be televised on NBC Sports Network tomorrow night starting at 8 p.m. ET.