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IndyCar Series: SunTrust Indy Challenge

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  SunTrust Indy Challenge

IndyCar Series: SunTrust Indy Challenge

Tony Kanaan
June 28, 2008


RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

THE MODERATOR: Tony, congratulations on the win. If you would, take us through your evening.
TONY KANAAN: Well, a lot of action. Definitely a lot of yellows. We benefit from being in the front, for sure. That's just a typical Richmond race, a very difficult, very long, and at one point, I looked, it was lap 245, and I just wondered if it was five laps to go like last year, but I knew we still had 55.
So it was, you know, a tough race. I think we had a strong car. Marco did, too. We did split the strategies just to try to cover both bases, and finally the luck was on my side.

Q. Does it take a little bit of the frustration and sting out of what you've gone through this year?
TONY KANAAN: Of course. I'm going to enjoy my win tonight for sure. I knew that I had to keep fighting. There's nothing else I can do. If you're going to have the season you expect every year, then it's going to be pretty boring I would say.
I knew it was going to turn around. I didn't know when. I thought it was last weekend and I made a mistake. When those kind of things happen, I have a tendency to actually have more strength to turn the situation around. I think I work better when I put a lot of pressure on myself, and you know, I came in determined to win this race, and it worked out.

Q. How difficult was it to pass tonight?
TONY KANAAN: Oh, very difficult, when I was in the lead in traffic and when Marco pulled away; I had a pretty good battle with Jaime at one point; so much for teaching the kid, and all of a sudden, you get all you teach him back. I'll have a chat with him at home. He won't be allowed in the office for a couple weeks (chuckling).
It was tough. But I have to say, lap traffic, it was really good. I was really impressed how people respect the leaders and they did not impede the progress of it. So I think we did a pretty good job.

Q. Jaime did a heck of a job; when he was in the lead, nobody was catching him. He was really moving.
TONY KANAAN: No, he was driving the hell out of that car. I think for such a small team, he proved he has a lot of potential, even though he ended up in the wall. But you know, I feel his pain and I know the kid is talented. I think it shows pretty much what he can do.

Q. When you were in victory lane, they were showing you making a bunch of frenzied hand gestures while you were talking to Dixon and Castroneves; was it that kind of night?
TONY KANAAN: I'm Brazilian. I talk with my hands a lot.
We were talking about how hectic it was and how difficult it was, the race. There wasn't anything in particular about it. I don't even remember. I think we were talking about setups and how bad and how good our cars were, but that's me. Some people when I speak in Portuguese with Kiko (ph) or some of my friends in the paddock, people think we are fighting like crazy, so I guess I've got to watch myself.

Q. You said it was a typical Richmond race, but wasn't it a little more frenzied out there? It seems like the restarts were a little sloppier tonight and more hectic?
TONY KANAAN: I think it was busier: 26 cars, a lot of people hitting each other. But like I said, this race is always going to be busy. You're always going to be mad at somebody or somebody is going to be mad at you, because you're always passing or trying to lap somebody. That's the way it is. What are you going to do?
It's the nature of the track, and you put 26 cars in a little track on like this, it becomes exciting, but also it has a potential for a lot of drama in the race. That's the nature of the track, and I don't think -- we can't blame anything. It's just the way it is.
And I think it's a pretty good thing to have, so we have all types of diversities when you go from a Super Speedway to a small track and then go to just a little track like Iowa and have millions of passings, and then you come back here and have a totally different race so. That adds definitely for the championship.

Q. In one of the restarts, you and Helio were the bread and Danica was the meat in the sandwich; talk about that.
TONY KANAAN: When they dropped the green flag, you are supposed to go, and so I'm going. So I didn't even see when I'm going, so I just made the pass. I didn't even see Helio was on the outside. It wasn't because it was her; it was anybody. I charge on Jaime, too, later on. So I was just -- I wanted it to go.

Q. Worked out better for you than Helio.
TONY KANAAN: Finally. One time it works better for me. I choose the inside, so it was better.

Q. Ironic, all of the trouble you've had this year, and on a night when there's more chaos and mayhem out there, any other night of the season, you're a guy that survives with all of the stuff that's happening this year.
TONY KANAAN: You know, you've been racing for a while and that's the way it is isn't it. I was just sweating with ten laps to go: What's going to happen now? It's like, okay, something is going to blow up; it's going to rain -- actually, if it rains, I was going to win, but maybe I was going to spin in the rain.
If you would say out of all of the races that my best finish here out of the last six years was fourth; so it wasn't the race that I would say, we had a huge shot. I knew that we had a good car, but I think you're right. That's how funny racing is. Sometimes it comes when you least expect it.

Q. We heard in victory lane about the win for your son; did it finally feel good to get the win for your son?
TONY KANAAN: Yeah, it he was going to be a year old, and if he understands about racing, he was going to say, "Dad, you suck."
So now I can say: "Son, when you're nine months old, I won a race for you," and he's not going to remember anyway. Definitely I was worried that he was going to come to understand about racing and that he's going to say like my wife does all the time: "Why you didn't win." I just wanted to win this week.

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