LONG BEACH, Ca. – April 15, 2012 – KV Racing Technology driver Tony Kanaan had a spectacular race improving 15 positions to finish fourth in today’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the challenging 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit at Long Beach, California.
Kanaan, No. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONICS | GEICO – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone, qualified 10th, but started 19th after a penalty was levied against all the Chevrolet and some of the Lotus powered teams for changing-out an engine that had not reached its minimum mileage threshold prior to the Long Beach race. The 37-year-old Brazilian was on the move from the drop of the green flag and benefitted from a solid strategy, faultless pit stops and a car that allowed him to record the fastest lap of the race. As the team’s strategy played out, Kanaan used his tremendous talent to pick up track position at every opportunity. However, in the end it came down to his race craft as he passed car after car to finish his first race of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season and in the process score his first top-five showing of the year.
“It was a great day for the MOUSER ELECTRONICS | GEICO Team,” Kanaan said. “After two very bad races, it’s great to have momentum going into Brazil. We have moved up in the points quite a lot, which is very important. It was a fun race. I got to drive fast and it was a fantastic result for us.”
Kanaan who made his ninth start in Long Beach has finished in the top-10 six times with a best showing of third in 2009 (fifths in 1998, 2010 and 2012). In the first two races of the season he had qualified well (in the top-10 in all three races this year) and drove skillfully, however bad luck ended both the first two events early. Kanaan, in his 15th U. S. based open-wheel season 11th in the IZOD IndyCar Series and second with KVRT, is a perennial championship contender having placed in the top-six in the championship every year he has run the full IndyCar season, a total of nine consecutive seasons. He earned 32 points today giving him 54 on the season placing him in a tie with his teammate Viso. However, today’s fourth place finish gives him the tiebreaker putting him 11th in the championship race.