NEWTON, Iowa—Tony Kanaan proved to be an Ironman Saturday night in Race 2 of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s at Iowa Speedway. The drink tube became dislodged and he ran nearly the entire race without benefit of water in a hot cockpit on an even hotter night.
Starting eighth, in the No. 14 Bryant Chevrolet, he dropped to tenth (when the tube came out and splashed water over his shield), but climbed back to ninth by lap three. He moved to eighth by the time of his first pit stop on lap 53.
Teammate Charlie Kimball, who started 11th in the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet, radioed in that his car was loose on entry, then went to understeer and was unsettled on exit. He dropped to 16th and pitted early in the pit window to make some adjustments. After the second round of stops, he said the car was feeling better and he set his fastest lap just before the midpoint of the race.
The Tresiba team had solid stops on a hot Saturday night.
A caution on lap 114 for Ed Carpenter’s contact with the wall in Turn 2 (he was not injured) slowed the race for 12 laps. When the race went back to green, Kanaan moved up to seventh and ran there until his next pit stop on lap 174. Kimball pitted shortly after only to have the caution flag wave again on lap 180 -- this time for Ryan Hunter-Reay’s crash in Turn 2 while coming off pit road. He wasn’t injured.
The Bryant Chevrolet was competitive throughout the race.
With 12 laps of caution before the race restarted on lap 192, strategists Larry Foyt and Scott Harner told their drivers that they could make it to the end on fuel. Kimball moved into 16th on lap 206 and maintained it to the end.
“Another tough night here at Iowa Speedway for the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet,” Kimball said. “The guys did a great job in pit lane - they’ve done that all year. It’s nice to rely on that coming down pit lane to pick up tires and spots, but we just struggled a little bit. I struggled with grip. I struggled with balance. Felt like I drove pretty hard, but we had a lot to learn and a lot to look at heading into the next race at Mid-Ohio and the big one at Indy.”
Strategist Larry Foyt talks with Kimball after the race.
Kanaan moved into ninth on lap 216 and held fast there until the final three laps-slipping to 10th with two to go and then 11th on the final lap--surrendering to cars with fresher tires. However, he was pleased to have a competitive car at the tough 7/8 mile bullring. During the final caution, he thanked his race engineer Mike Colliver over the radio, saying "You gave me a good car tonight Mike, thanks."
Kanaan takes a drink after the race.
“All in all, I think it was a positive weekend for us,” Kanaan said. “We definitely have a much more competitive car. We’ve been running in the top 10 every single race with one of these cars, so really happy. Very emotional weekend for me yesterday giving the command. It was kind of like, I never had done that, so it was kind of mixed feelings and it was really cool to do it, but also it’s something really coming to an end. Today we had a great race. We ran in the top eight all day long. The tire strategy we played a little bit of a gamble, and it worked, so I was really happy. I was a lot more comfortable today in the car. You know, doing this race is like one weekend, four weekends off … it’s kind of weird to me. I’ve done 17 races in a row for 23 years, so I think this is a good lead for Indy. We’re going to have a normal ‘Month of August’ in Indy, so I’ll be in the car every day, so hopefully we’ll go for the big win because that’s what my boss wants. Thanks to Bryant, Firestone, Chevy and the whole Foyt team for the opportunity. Let’s go to Indy!”
Josef Newgarden swept the card by starting on pole and winning the race for the second straight year here. He also won in 2016. Finishing second was his teammate Will Power while Graham Rahal claimed third. Rounding out the top five were Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will return to action with the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on August 9th.