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Kanaan denies Wheldon Kansas triumph.

Defending IndyCar Series Champion Tony Kanaan showed that the 2005 title chase isn't over just yet after fending off Dan Wheldon to claim victory in Sunday's Argent Mortgage Indy 300 at the Kansas Speedway.

Still searching for his first win of the season and coming off his first DNF since August 2003, Kanaan made swift work of his fourth row starting position to manoeuvre his way towards the front early on in the 200-lap blast around the flat-out 1.5-mile Kansas tri-oval.

Even though it would be Kanaan's Andretti-Green teammate Wheldon who would do most of the leading during a remarkably clean race, Kanaan had the reserves to keep his English born teammate half a nose behind him on the final tour, holding his line as the leaders charged off the final turn and keeping Wheldon at bay by less than half a car length.

Although the Brazilian driver only reduced his Championship deficit to Wheldon to an unofficial margin of 76 points with eight of 17 races completed, Sunday's win was valuable in the sense that Kanaan proved that it isn't just the Wheldon entry that has they keys to victory lane in 2005.

For his part Wheldon still showed winning form in abundance, leading a Kansas record 111 laps from 13th on the grid, holding off a typically tenacious Tomas Scheckter for much of the middle portion of the race. Even though the win deserted him in the end, Wheldon proved that his performance in Richmond was an anomaly and that he will still be one of the drivers to beat at every one of the remaining stops on the IRL tour.

Rahal-Letterman Racing's Vitor Meira qualified third and suddenly sprung into contention for the win late in the race. After losing to Buddy Rice by inches at Kansas in 2004 Meira crossed the line by a not too dissimilar margin this time, albeit in third place as a last corner dive to the bottom of the track resulted in a spectacular three-wide finish.

With only three of the 22 starters failing to finish and the final 60 laps running without a caution flag, positions throughout the top 15 changed almost lap after lap with a number of late race splash and dash fuel stops contributing to the late drama. Even though the 18 lead lap cars were strung out around the track when the chequered flag fell, Dario Franchitti still ensured that the top four finishers would be covered by less than half a second as he flashed across the line in a strong fourth place.

Scheckter continued his strong mid-season run for Panther Racing with fifth position ahead of veteran Scott Sharp and the leading Toyota runner Darren Manning. Richmond winner Helio Castroneves finished eighth with MBNA Polewinner Danica Patrick ninth after a day in which she ran strongly on the track but almost spun on pit road. Buddy Rice rounded out the top ten with Tomas Enge eleventh after his strongest IRL outing to date and Sam Hornish Jr 12th.

As the IRL season moves into its second half only Kanaan now remains within 100 points of Wheldon with everyone else seemingly scrapping over third place in the end of year standings.


Related Pictures

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Tony Kanaan, Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2005.
Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power and Tony Kanaan on the podium after the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest on Sunday August 17 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The confetti flies as Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Tony Kanaan raise their trophies in Victory Lane (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power (center), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 with second-place finisher Juan Pablo Montoya (left), driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, and Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Huggies Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
The cars of Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti sit in the Esses of Turns 4 and 5 after contact during the start of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Chevy Racing sweeps the podium with race winner Sebastien Bourdais (center), driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races in Toronto, Canada. Second-place finisher Helio Castroneves (left), driver of the #3 PPV Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, and third-place finisher Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, join the celebration. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, races to a third-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, takes over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon won the pole and finished in fourth-place. Kanaan led for most of the race and finished third. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan lead the pack at the start of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan leads the field during the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe (left), driver of the #8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, talks with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, during qualifying Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Briscoe qualified fourth, Kanaan second and teammate Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 won the pole. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates winning the pole Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon will start in the front row with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, who qualified second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 wins the pole Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon will start in the front row with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, who qualified second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan in action at Pocono (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)

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