FORT WORTH, Texas—Racing under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway’s banked 1.5 mile oval is dramatic, intense and close. The NTT IndyCar Series didn’t disappoint with some tight racing action among the leaders in the closing laps of the 248-lap DXC Technology 600.
While not battling for the lead in this race, Tony Kanaan tied one of his team owner A.J. Foyt’s stats tonight when Kanaan logged his 369th career total Indy car start. That stat looked ever-so-briefly in doubt for Kanaan yesterday when he brushed the wall exiting Turn 2 during his qualifying run. His car sustained right side suspension damage and could not complete the run, so he started last in the 22-car field.
All of the teams were working with a new Firestone tire designed to wear quickly and dissipate heat to avoid blistering (as it did in last year’s race). The increased tire degradation contributed to the difficulty of getting the car sorted out.
Kanaan was heading for what would have been a top-12 finish until he landed a penalty for jumping the restart on lap 143. It was the first of three caution periods, this one triggered by Zach Veach’s spin down the backstretch. Kanaan had to serve a drive-through the pits penalty which put him down an additional lap. He’d been down two laps because good track position was tough to maintain under green flag conditions.
Two more cautions slowed the race; James Hinchcliffe’s attempt to pass Alexander Rossi saw Hinchcliffe run wide and clip the wall exiting Turn 2 and then spin down to the inside of the track. The third and final accident occurred on lap 229 when rookie Colton Herta and Scott Dixon tangled while battling for third. Neither car could restart but no one was injured.
When the checkers waved, Kanaan had climbed to 16th spot in his No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet.
“We did what we could,” said the 44-year-old, dubbed the Ironman, who posted his 309th consecutive start in Indy cars. “We made 27 changes I think overnight so it was a completely new setup going to the race. So I just tried to manage what we got. I think we got to a point that we have something to work with. I’m glad we finished. We could have finished probably in the top 12 if it wasn’t for that penalty but when you try, you’re trying too hard. All in all, we finished, we’re learning. We have to take what we learned here and take it to the next oval.”
Also undergoing a complete setup change on the No.4 ABC Supply Chevrolet overnight was Matheus Leist who did not feel comfortable in his car all weekend. Leist parked his car after 73 laps. The 20-year-old was not happy with the performance tonight but is looking ahead to the race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. in two weeks. Leist and Kanaan will test there this Wednesday along with 15 other drivers.
Pole winner Takuma Sato did not fare well in the race having to serve a drive through penalty for striking a crew member during his first pit stop. Josef Newgarden won the race. He was trailed by Rossi, Graham Rahal, rookie Santino Ferrucci and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
The NTT IndyCar Series returns to action on June 23rd at Elkhart Lake, Wis. The race will be broadcast live on NBCSN starting at 12 noon (CT).