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IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 400

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Firestone Indy 400

IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 400

Tony Kanaan
August 5, 2007


BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined in the press conference room by race winner Tony Kanaan. Tony, if you could just take a few moments and talk about the final lap, racing against your teammate to get your second career win here at MIS.
TONY KANAAN: Well, it was an exciting last couple laps for sure. I was pretty happy that I knew at that point an AGR car was going to win the race. It was either going to be me or Marco, so pretty happy about that.
Great job to the team 7/11 guys. We had a few problems all day. We did not have the fast car. I would say we maximized the result. It was a crazy race. I did not enjoy a single bit of it, apart from victory lane, so I would say it was a bit crazy out there.

Q. Why do you say that? Why didn't you enjoy any of it?
TONY KANAAN: Well, people were chopping people off, banging wheels and cars flying. I mean, that's not a way to race. I definitely think a lot of people disrespect each other out there, and it's not anybody's fault besides ours and the Indy Racing League not to take the measures with the drivers that have been driving a crazy race.
I saw at least 25 potential cars that could have flipped at some point in this race. Only one flipped, thank God he's okay. But I really don't think it's a way to race like that.

Q. Every lap of the last five laps he tried to take you up high. Did you ever think that maybe on one of the last two laps he was going to come down low? I know you were guarding at the line pretty good.
TONY KANAAN: He can't do that because I was not giving him any room. The only room he had was the outside. No, I did not think that because if he had tried, he was going to have to go below the white line, and that was not legal. I don't think he was even thinking about that.

Q. At one point I think coming out of two he looked down low and it looked like -- we were up broadcasting on the radio and it looked like he got a shot but you held it. You two guys ran close and certainly ran clean. Can you just tell us how you were able to hold that, and you catch him on three and four and pull back ahead?
TONY KANAAN: Well, we respect each other a lot, and I knew the low line was quicker. Like you said, I gave him a little room on the bottom but not enough to pull the car there, so that didn't mean he could go there. He was stronger than me in one and two like you said, but I knew I was stronger than him in three and four, and that's where I needed to be stronger to win the race.
When he came side by side, I think a lot of people thought, oh, he won the race. I knew from the back straightaway until the finish line, that's when I was beating him all the time. He was coming up quick because he was in my draft, as well, so I would say that helps a lot.

Q. Really not taking anything away from you, but I'll be honest with you, boy, your pit crew really got you out of the pits a couple times so doggone quick, I couldn't believe it.
TONY KANAAN: That's my guys. I'm proud of them. I think that's described as team work. Many times they had a problem, put me in the back of the pack and I passed 10, 15 cars for them, and many times I said to them, guys, I can't pass any cars, and they said, don't worry, we'll pass them for you. The team did great. I've got to definitely thank my guys. They're in the gym three times a week just training and doing pit stops. I love them and they love me, so that's why we get a big kick out of it every time.

Q. Were you concerned when there was 10 and 12 cars running there with 50 laps to go that something might happen because it was very close and there was a lot of passing and stuff going on? From a fan standpoint it was fabulous to watch.
TONY KANAAN: Yeah, for you guys for sure. For us it was just like death row waiting for somebody to kill you. I knew it was going to happen. I knew it. I avoided two times of sending Scheckter to the grandstands. Somebody had to give up, and I knew somebody in the front was going to get stubborn enough and say I'm not going to give up and I'm not going to give up and I'm not going to give up, and that's what happened there.
Really it was just a bomb waiting to get exploded. Somebody just pulled the plug and then they just wait. Thank God nobody is hurt.

Q. With Danica having more bad luck, you've been through stuff like this before in your career and had stuff happen. What's it going to take for her to finally get over the hump and just avoid these kind of pitfalls?
TONY KANAAN: You've got to ask her about that. I don't know. I mean, I had some bad luck this year. I had some crazy races, I crashed a few times, something that I don't do very often.
I think she's doing the job. I mean, week in, week out she's in the front. It's going to happen. I don't know how long it's going to take, but she's got to keep trying. That's the way it is. Nothing you can do about it.
To win races you need to be lucky, too. Everything needs to fall in place. How many guys are very talented that only won one race. Look at Vitor; he's a very talented race car driver and he hasn't won yet. Obviously she's in the spotlight, everybody is expecting her to win a race, but it's going to take time and luck.

Q. Speaking of when you had to back off, maybe 130, 140 lap, you were coming in and running I think third and Scheckter was in the middle. As you came in the third turn you kind of backed off because obviously you thought not a good idea at that time. You came back and got him anyway. It looked like you did back off and let them go and avoided what you were talking about.
TONY KANAAN: They put me on the white line and he was heading to the apron. If I didn't lift I was going to hit the apron, hit Scheckter, hit Dan, and that was going to be it. Somebody had to give up. The way they were both driving they did not want to give up, so I said, all right, it's a long race, so it paid off.
But like I said, I think -- I don't think we do it on purpose to each other, but when you get -- you're traveling at 220 miles an hour, you have ten cars around, sometimes it gets -- you have no control. We rely a lot on the wings and we lose all the downforce behind a bunch of cars.
I just think it was crazy just because you have so many things happening. So nobody wants to do what we did there on the back straightaway for sure. Nobody wants to flip anybody up. I don't know, I think that's the way this type of racing is.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY KANAAN: Exactly, that's what I'm saying. Well, there's a way. There is two things that you've got to consider, though. I'm not saying that you've got to give up, but you've got to respect each other, too. You put somebody on the white line like that, it's not respect, and you know what you're doing. One time you can say I didn't see it. Second time -- if the guy doesn't give up, it's going to hit.
I don't necessarily approve what happened, but I'm not saying, please, you first, no, you first. We're race car drivers, we're smart enough, we know what we're doing to each other. I have to say a lot of guys knew what they were doing at that point, and they did it on purpose.



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