Tony Kanaan was understandably exultant after his third-place finish for A.J. Foyt Racing in the Bommarito 500 at Gateway — his best finish in two years.
“That’s a long time,” Kanaan reacted after being reminded how long it had been since his last visit to an IndyCar podium. “I told the boys on the cool-down lap, I probably didn’t remember where I had to stop my car!
“It’s always fun when you finish on the podium. It was a great race. First 50 laps I think it was a little boring. After that it got extremely exciting.”
While a well-timed caution period helped create that excitement, Kanaan noted his boosted track position wasn’t just down to luck.
“I think we were strong. We had a great strategy,” Kanaan said. “The Chevy and the fuel mileage we had, actually got us to the point that we got lucky with that yellow. Once we had the track position, the car was fast and we were able to perform.”
Elated as he was by the ABC Supply team’s resurgence, Kanaan felt it could have been even better.
“(Takuma) Sato got a run on me on the restart. After that I had to measure and decide what I wanted to do. Do I need to attack? Did I have anything to attack (with)? If I was going to keep it on the podium, which is a great result for us…
“Once he took off and opened a little bit of a lead, I said, ‘I’m going to sit here and see what happens.’ I was waiting for him to hit traffic. Unfortunately when we all hit traffic, we all got in trouble. I got a little bit loose. Ed (Carpenter) got me. It was one of those things.”
Coming at a time when Kanaan is in the process of deciding what he will do next year, the result was a welcome boost for the veteran Brazilian personally, as well as for his team.
“We’ve been overcoming a lot of adversity throughout the year,” he noted. “We’ve been hearing a lot of things, good things and bad things — some support, some people thinking we shouldn’t be doing this. When I joined A.J. Foyt Racing, it was to make this team better. We’ve been struggling quite a bit. A result like this, it’s a huge boost for everybody.”
He cautioned the Foyt team still has a way to go in the makeover that began in February with the arrival of Scott Harner as vice president of operations to help Larry Foyt run the organization.
“ABC provided us every single tool with the sponsorship for us to perform and we haven’t done it. Slowly we’re turning it around,” Kanaan said. “Things are happening. They take time. We do have a great organization. All credit to Larry — there’s nothing that we haven’t asked Larry to do that he hasn’t done for us. It’s on us. It’s on me. It’s on my engineer. It’s on Harner. It’s on the entire team.
“We brought Don Halliday back, who is a guy from my first year in America ’96 — he was engineering me at Tasman (Motorsports). He came in to do some damage control. It’s been great.
“So, yes, it was a good result. Obviously let’s not get ahead of the game. We still have two races to go, still have a lot of work to do. I’ll take it, enjoy it tonight and go back to work tomorrow.”