MADISON, Ill.—A fast car and an untimely yellow created a frustrating evening for Tony Kanaan who appeared to be headed for a top-six finish in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park Saturday evening.
“We gambled with the strategy and it didn’t work out,” said Kanaan, who started 15th and was running 10th when he pitted for fuel and tires on lap 158. He’d been racing with Simon Pagenaud who ultimately placed fourth. “I’m disappointed because the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet was fast all night and we were running in the Top-10 when we got caught out by that yellow.”
The yellow for Ryan Hunter-Reay who slowed on the backstretch came out on lap 173 and it killed Kanaan’s fuel strategy as he lost two laps to the leaders who were able to pit under yellow. He got one lap back with a wave around before the race went green but there was never another caution to get another lap back with a wave around. Kanaan soldiered on to finish 13th.
Matheus Leist ran a solid race and also got caught out by that same yellow as he was in the pits getting serviced when it came out. Before the race went green, he dashed into the pits again to top off his fuel. He worked his way into 12th by lap 227 of the 248 lap race. It wasn’t until race strategist Larry Foyt called him into the pits for a splash of fuel that Leist dropped back to 16th which is where he placed.
AJ FOYT RACING PHOTO
“Very difficult race, very tough to run in traffic,” Leist said afterwards. “Most of the race we were trying to figure out what to do to run faster. I was playing with my tools inside the car, bars and weight jacker. At end of day I think it was a good race, we made some improvements throughout the weekend which is good so we’re getting there. The pit stops were good, so good job to my ABC Supply team, the guys have been working hard since day 1. And thanks to all the fans that came here tonight. Now onto Portland.”
Foyt summed up the evening by noting the positives that the team could take away despite their disappointment in the results.
“It was a tough night for the ABC Supply team but we learned a lot about our short oval package and we were definitely more competitive than we had been at Iowa,” Foyt shared. “Unfortunately we didn’t get to qualify [due to rain, so the grid was set according to point standings] and I think that [qualifying] would have helped us out because this is a very tough place to pass and it looked like Tony had a fast car. As it turned out, he got caught out by a yellow. Matheus was doing a good job and learning a lot but we got caught in the pits when that yellow came out. So we took a gamble and tried to make a really long stretch on the last fuel stint and we almost made it but we ended up being about half a lap short. It just hasn’t been our year. We’ve got two races to go to get a decent finish and some momentum going into the off season.”
Will Power won the race, his third of the season. Second through fifth were: Alexander Rossi, Scott Dixon, Pagenaud and Zach Veach.
Both ABC Supply Chevrolets will go the team’s Indianapolis shop to be turned around into road course configuration for the Open Test at Portland International Raceway this Thursday. The team will work Sunday and Monday to prep the cars which must be on their way to Portland by Monday night, a trip over 2250 miles, to set up at the track on Wednesday. The Grand Prix of Portland will be broadcast live Sunday, Sept. 2 on NBC Sports Network starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.