South Florida’s IndyCar Stars Shine in Midwest

TK Tops in Iowa

South Florida’s Tony Kanaan collected his first victory since 2008 in Race 8 of 17 en route to the IndyCar Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 2 (photo courtesy: Chris Trotman, Getty Images Sport)

South Florida’s Tony Kanaan collected his first victory since 2008 in Race 8 of 17 en route to the IndyCar Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 2. The Key Biscayne resident sailed past fellow-South Florida resident Helio Castroneves with 10 laps remaining at Iowa to record his first victory since June 29, 2008, at Richmond.

"It feels awesome," said a smiling Kanaan. “A win on Father's Day, my son hadn't seen me win a race yet. He wasn't here, but I'm pretty sure he was watching on TV back in Brazil. He's 2 years, 8 months old, so he hadn't seen me win a race yet. So I'm happy, and obviously it feels good to be in victory circle for sure.”

With the win, Kanaan jumped 50 points in the race for the Championship, which will be crowned on his home track of Homestead-Miami Oct. 2. The gap from first place Will Power to Kanaan in sixth is only 45 points. IndyCar’s Championship has come down to the final lap of the final race each of the last four seasons so expect some very compelling action at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 2. Tickets to see IndyCar’s Champion crowned in Miami go on sale July 3 (click here for renewal deadlines). For more information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.

Added Kanaan: "Marco [Andretti] gave me a little bit of his setup, and Ryan [Hunter-Reay] actually helped me with the setup, putting it together for today. It was a great job as a team, and it feels good."

Kanaan-teammate Danica Patrick came in 10th place. Motorsports’ first lady—who will race at Homestead-Miami Speedway during both the IndyCar Championship Weekend (Oct. 2) and NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend (Nov. 20)—started ninth and clawed her way to a Top 10 after dealing with an ill-handling car.

"It was a challenging race for the GoDaddy car,” she said. “We had a good car, but the longer the race went on, the more difficult the car got handling-wise. I wish we had a better day, but we'll take a Top 10 finish."

The win was the second of the year for Andretti Autosport, after Boca Raton-native Hunter-Reay landed a victory at Long Beach. With eight races in the books en route to a Champion being crowned in Miami Oct. 2, Team Penske has the most wins with four, followed by both Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport with two each.

Fellow Brazilian native Castroneves was a bit surprised to see his South Florida neighbor sail past him, saying: "I think the race was 10 laps too long; the race should have ended earlier."

Castroneves moved to the lead on Lap 200 and was able to put a gap between him and second place. It also helped that Dario Franchitti—who claimed the 2009 IndyCar title last fall at Homestead-Miami Speedway—fell victim to gearbox issues. Kanaan's decisive move to the lead on the inside left Castroneves protecting himself from yet a third South Floridian, E.J. Viso, who was gaining ground.

Said Castroneves: "I should be happy, but with 10 laps to go it slipped right through my hands. We had great pit stops, the team did an incredible job. Tony did seem to have a better car. He could run everywhere but more consistent. It's a shame for us today, but for the Championship [points standings], it is very good."

Castroneves had reason to smile after his second-place finish gained him 40 points in the Championship chase on his first Father's Day as a Dad.

Also grinning was Viso, who earned his first IndyCar podium. The Venezuelan-turned-Miami resident was as excited as the race winner, giving smiles to everyone on the KV Racing Technology team. "Definitely a long race, and just being on the podium is very, very rewarding.

With the victory, Kanaan moved up to sixth in the IndyCar Championship standings, which will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 2 during the NextEra Energy Indy Championships. Tickets to see the 2010 Champion crowned in Miami go on sale July 3 (click here for renewal deadlines). For more information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.

Kanaan, Castroneves, Patrick, Franchitti and the rest of the IndyCar elite will resume the pursuit for fall glory in Miami on Sunday, July 4, at Watkins Glen (3:30 p.m. EST on ABC, IMS Radio Network, XM Ch. 145, Sirius Ch. 211)—Race 9 of 17 en route to IndyCar Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 2). Tickets to see IndyCar’s Champion crowned in Miami go on sale July 3 (click here for renewal deadlines). For more information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com or call (866) 409-RACE.

Next Race:


 

Open It Up: South Florida’s Indy Drivers

RHR at Iowa

“We had the Ethanol USA-Team IZOD car running in the Top 3. I'm really disappointed in the end. It should have been a great day for us. Congratulations to Tony; he deserves this for sure."
--Boca Raton native Ryan Hunter-Reay on teammate Tony Kanaan's win

It was a stellar day for South Florida’s IndyCar drivers, highlighted by Key Biscayne-resident Tony Kanaan, who took the checkered flag in Race 8 of 17 en route to IndyCar Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 2). Helio Castroneves nearly claimed his second victory before taking home a second-place finish in the No. 3 Team Penske car.

South Florida resident, E.J. Viso, driver of the No. 8 PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KV Racing Technology car, finished an IndyCar Series-career-high third: "It's been a very tough year for the team,” he said post-race. “We all knew that we could get there. We have some very good people on the team and good drivers. We finished in the position we deserved to have. I hope this is the start of good things to come for the rest of the season."
 
It also was a solid day for South Florida-resident Vitor Meira of A.J. Foyt Racing, as he took home seventh place. "It was a good result,” said Meira. “What matters is that we're improving and being consistent everywhere we go. We've had Top 10s, and the next stage is Top 5s,"

Boca Raton-native Ryan Hunter-Reay was reunited with an old sponsor at Iowa and rewarded the support with an eighth-place finish. "We had an awesome day,” said Hunter-Reay, who sits seventh in the Championship standings, including a victory at Long Beach. “We should have been on the podium with Tony today; we had an incident on pit lane and got black-flagged for it. We had to fight our way back up to the Top 10.

“We had the Ethanol USA-Team IZOD car running in the Top 3. I'm really disappointed in the end. It should have been a great day for us. Congratulations to Tony; he deserves this for sure."

For the second consecutive race, South Florida’s own Raphael Matos had a stronger De Ferran Dragon racecar than qualifying car, and used it to improve seven positions and finish 14th after starting 21st.

"The change we made to the car yesterday after qualifying really helped, and we moved in the right direction," Matos said. "We are continuing to understand the data and improve the car, which is important for the future."
 
After starting third, South Beach-resident Marco Andretti drove to a disappointing 15th place finish and was not happy with the handling of the car, suspecting that a part failed somewhere on the car.

“It's definitely a disappointment to start third and finish where we did,” Andretti said. “The handling for the Venom car just didn't make sense. We made all the right adjustments, and we were still too loose. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up finding something broken on the car. We just weren't able to make it happen today on the [No.] 26 side, but I'm happy for my teammate [Kanaan] and the [No.] 11 crew."

For Miami-resident and IndyCar Series-rookie Mario Romancini, the race was without incident. The Brazilian native started 23rd and kept a steady pace—staying out of trouble and soaking in as much experience as possible—before finishing 16th.

Said Romancini: "It was a tough race for us. We kept improving the car during our pit stops, but as the car kept improving the race track was getting more difficult because the marbles on the outside were making the track tighter; so you needed to be very careful if you went off line.

“When you look at the accidents that happened, it was important to stay out of trouble, which we did. We finished 16th; it's not where we wanted to be, but I guess it's not too bad. Now we're heading back to the road courses again, and I'm really looking forward to it."

Indeed, the pursuit for Miami glory continues on Sunday, July 4, at Watkins Glen (3:30 p.m. EST on ABC, IMS Radio Network, XM Ch. 145, Sirius Ch. 211)—Race 9 of 17 en route to IndyCar Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 2). Tickets to see IndyCar’s Champion crowned in Miami go on sale July 3 (click here for renewal deadlines). For more information, stay tuned to THEChampionshipTrack.com
or call (866) 409-RACE.

HOW SOUTH FLORIDA DRIVERS FARED:

1.  Tony Kanaan
2.  Helio Castroneves
3.  EJ Viso
7.  Vitor Meira
8.  Ryan Hunter-Reay
14. Raphael Matos
15. Marco Andretti
16. Mario Romancini
23. Milka Duno
25. Mario Moraes            

  • Baptist Health
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  • Coca-Cola
  • Contender
  • Courtyard Marriott
  • EPIC Hotel
  • Florida Lottery
  • Floridian Logo
  • Ford
  • Gatorade
  • GEICO
  • GEN Travel Solutions
  • Goodyear
  • Hampton Inn and Suites
  • Miller Industries
  • New Holland
  • NextEra
  • Safety Kleen
  • Sprint
  • Sunoco
  • Ticket clinic
  • Visit Florida
  • We Can Do Print

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