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St Pete 2007: Helio nearly perfect.

Tony Kanaan recovered from an embarrassing opening lap collision with his Andretti-Green teammate Dario Franchitti that resulted in Kanaan dropping to the back of the field to complete the podium, but only after star of the show Darren Manning spun away a potential podium with 25 laps to go.

"I didn't help the team when I crashed yesterday during qualifying and went back to sixth place, and that's probably why I caused the accident," Kanaan confessed, "I hate to say it, but we had the car to win the race, we just didn't put ourselves in the position to do it. It's done and third place is better than nothing. We'll just work on the next one."

Manning had been a revelation in his AJ Foyt Racing entry up to that point, but his spin dropped him several laps and he eventually finished twelfth.

"The last 30 minutes killed me," the Briton admitted, "My feet were numb and my hands were in such pain as I tried to keep ahead of Tony. The steering was so heavy on full tanks and new tyres because this track has so much grip, and it was tough to hold on.

"In hindsight, I should have let Tony go. It was a fantastic weekend overall for a one-car effort, and it's a testament to the spirit of this team. We're just scratching the surface on performance."

Marco Andretti overcame his poor start to the season at Homestead with a confident fourth place finish, while Franchitti had to fight back from his collision with Kanaan and a subsequent drive-through penalty for breaking the pit-road speed limit to take fifth.

"It was the first stint that killed me," Andretti insisted, "I was pushing so hard that I killed the front tyres, flat-spotted them, so I was hanging on for dear life. We lost a lot of ground, and you need to be a half-second quicker to pass. It's qualifying the whole race."

Franchitti admitted to being unclear as to what exactly happened on the opening lap, but paid tribute to his team for their efforts in getting him back on the road.

"I'm not sure what happened - Tony was going around the outside and I was trying to stay out of trouble, but I had a bit of understeer and we got together," the Scot revealed.

"I have to thank the Canadian Club crew for fixing the car. We had a couple gos at it and the guys did a great job getting it back together. They didn't get the car back 100 per cent, but they made a bloody good attempt. The big thing was that, in the last 50 laps, we lost the brake pedal, so I was just staying out of trouble."



Related Pictures

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Helio Castroneves - Team Penske   [pic credit: IRL/McQueeney]
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IRL/McQueeney]
Tony Kanaan - Andretti Green Racing   [pic credit: IRL/McQueeney]
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates with team owner Roger Penske after winning the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, and his team perform the traditional kissing of the bricks after racing to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, drinks the traditional bottle of milk while celebrating his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, crosses the finish line as he races to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finishes second. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Andy Frame/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya is congratulated by his Penske team mate Helio Castroneves after clinching victory in the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Penske team mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power race side-by-wide during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya crosses the line ahead of Penske team mate Will Power to win the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies second-fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start in the middle of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power will be joined in the front row by pole sitter Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates after qualifying fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud on track in the Penske #22 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice on Friday May 15 2015. (Photo by: Mike Harding for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud waits in the Penske #22 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice on Friday May 15 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud climbs into the Penske #22 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice on Friday May 15 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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