Honda Indy 225 Race Report at Pikes Peak
Date: June 16, 2003 11:03
Honda Press Release
Kanaan Continues to Pad Points Lead
Honda-powered Tony Kanaan continued to extend his IRL IndyCar Series points lead with another second-place finish, his third of the season, at Pikes Peak International Raceway's Honda Indy 225. Starting from the pole, Kanaan battled Gil de Ferran, eventual race winner Scott Dixon, and a host of other competitors throughout the day as members of the lead pack frequently shifted positions while working their way through traffic and around one another on the one-mile banked oval.
As the race entered its final stages, Dixon opened up a two-second lead over Kanaan when the Brazilian's teammate, Dan Wheldon, spun without contact in the final turn. The ensuing caution period set up a four-way showdown for Dixon, Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and de Ferran.
On the restart, Dixon maintained his advantage, while Franchitti was balked by lapped traffic, forcing him off the throttle while de Ferran slipped by for third. At the same time, rear wing failure sent rookie points leader Roger Yasukawa into the Turn One wall, ending his day and leading to a yellow-flag finish behind the pace car.
Behind the leaders, Kenny Brack fought handling problems throughout the race to finish seventh. Greg Ray started strongly, running in the lead group with the likes of Franchitti and Yasukawa. But the Texan stalled on his first pit stop, and delays in getting the Access Motorsports machine re-fired dropped Ray several laps off the pace for an eventual 18th-place finish.
Kanaan now has a 49-point lead, nearly equal to a race win, over Dixon, who moves from seventh to second by virtue of today's victory. The IRL IndyCar Series now takes one week off before another pair of back-to-back events, starting with the shortest oval on the circuit, the .75-mile Richmond International Raceway on June 28 and followed by the July 6 run at Kansas Speedway.
Toyota 54 points
Tony Kanaan (#11 7-Eleven/Andretti Green Racing Honda) started 1st, finished 2nd: "It would be better if I could have won the Honda 225 for Honda, but second was a pretty good result for us today. The big picture is that we are starting every race this year with a car that is capable of winning. We were very fast early in each run, but the longer we stayed green, the stronger [Scott] Dixon became. We scored a bunch of championship points and increased our lead. That's exactly what we need. That's good. It was a good team effort. Dario [Franchitti] did a great job. It was his first race back and he was really strong. He helped me out big-time, so I need to thank my teammate, as well."
Dario Franchitti (#27 Archipelago/Motorola/Andretti Green Racing Honda) started 7th, finished 4th: "It sure feels good to be back. I thought we had a good shot at a top-three finish, but on the final restart I got caught behind some of the lapped guys and Gil [de Ferran] got inside of me. I tried to run alongside of him but got forced up into the 'gray'. Then the yellow was out again and we were locked into fourth."
Kenny Brack (#15 Pioneer/Team Rahal Honda) started 8th, finished 7th: "That was a pretty long day for me and Team Rahal. We just didn't have a very good car today. Then I stalled on the first pit stop. I revved the engine and let out the clutch and the engine just died. That cost us, but the car wasn't really what we wanted. It was oversteering in turns one and two and then the opposite in turns three and four. That's a bad combination when you have that. There were a lot of ill-handling cars today and we were right there too. But at least we collected some points today. We just need to work on the setups. We are going testing at Kansas and Kentucky this week. I think that will help us."
Roger Yasukawa (#55 Panasonic/Autobacs/Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Honda) started 11th, finished 17th: "The rear wing suddenly fell off. I lost all the grip on the straight and hit the wall. It was unfortunate for the whole team, since we were having a great race, and we were sure that we would finish in the top six. But, I guess it is one of those days. We just need to keep working hard. I would like to thank the Panasonic ARTA crew for the great pit work and all the hard work this weekend. Even though the results are bad, I had a lot of fun out there, so it was a good learning experience for me."
Greg Ray (#13 Trim Spa/Access Motorsports Honda) started 12th, finished 18th: "We were running in the top 10 coming in for our first pit stop, but the car died in pit lane. It was a normal pit stop until we went to restart and had a starter failure. The starter-shaft pin sheared, and that cost us four laps. We would have probably been only one lap down had that not happened. Looking at the cars out there, we felt like we could have had a sixth or seventh-place finish."