NEWTON, IA – June 24, 2012 – KV Racing Technology driver Tony Kanaan recorded his second consecutive podium finish with a third place performance in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
Kanaan, in the No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine, qualified ninth, but due to a 10 position penalty because of an unauthorized engine change, started 19th. Kanaan picked up two places before the race ever went green when Alex Tagliani spun off on the opening lap under yellow and Dario Franchitti’s Honda engine failed on the second lap, also under yellow. When the green flag finally fell, on lap 10, Kanaan, demonstrating the skill and determination that are his trademark, immediately began to move through the field. By lap 34 he was in the top-10 and in the top-five by lap 88. Following his final stop on lap 182, Kanaan engaged in fierce seesaw battles with first Ryan Hunter-Reay, then Helio Castroneves and finally Simon Pagenaud for a spot in the top-three. On lap 244, Kanaan got by Scott Dixon, who had fallen from first place and then on lap 246 he passed Pagenaud for good taking position of third. One lap later the final yellow flag of the race came out ending any hope of a victory.
“It was a great day for us,” Kanaan said. “I wished we had started further up the field, but the GEICO | MOUSER guys gave me a great car. We don’t take the podium finish for granted, but I think we had a car that could have won the race. There were lots of dodgy moves out there. People were driving kind of crazy. I hope the fans liked the race. Now we have to capitalize on what we have done so far, the championship is getting tight. Hopefully we can get a win soon.”
Kanaan, who finished a season-high second last week in Milwaukee, had his second straight podium performance and earned his third top-three finish of the year (finished third in the Indy 500). The 37-year-old Brazilian has collected five top-six showings in the first nine races of the 2012 season with his best performances coming on ovals, a second and two thirds (was also running in third at Texas when he was hit by Will Power and dropped to 11th). Kanaan, who has finished eight of the first nine races this year (DNF at St. Petersburg due to a non-team related component failure), also has a fourth and sixth on the street circuits in Long Beach and Detroit respectively. Last night’s third place finish in Iowa is Kanaan’s third podium in six starts on the .875-mile short oval and includes a win in 2010 (the 15th and most recent of his 15-year career) and a second last year. The perennial championship contender earned 35 points and moved into seventh place in the championship race with 235 points, just 51 points out of first place. Tonight’s performance places Kanaan in a tie for the lead in the A. J. Foyt Oval Championship with Ryan Hunter-Reay both with 136 points. However, Hunter-Reay holds the tiebreaker with two wins. The championship will be determined at Fontana, the final oval race on the 2012 schedule, unless there is an oval replacement race for China.
Foto credit: Dennis Ashlock/Firestone