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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]
Helio Castroneves pits during the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sunday August 24 2014. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power (right), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, is congratulated by teammate Helio Castroneves after capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014 with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 captures the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves playfully congratulates team mate Will Power on winning pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Saturday August 23 2014 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves navigates the Turn 9 Esses during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones 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)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a sixth-place finish Sunday, August 3, 2014 during the IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio. The finish was good enough for Power to retake the drivers points championship lead from teammate Helio Castroneves. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
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)
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)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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