5 August 2007
Michigan 2007: Kanaan 'rains' in chaos.
Tony Kanaan waited nearly five hours to edge Andretti Green Racing team-mate Marco Andretti by 0.0595secs and score his third victory of the season at the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway, after again threatened to play havoc with the Indycar schedule.
With the series due to move on to Kentucky next Saturday, organisers were keen to get Michigan over and done with on time, and waited out several rainstorms and a flooded paddock to ensure that there was no hangover to Monday. In the end, the race was delayed by four hours and 37 minutes before eventually getting under way.
The controversy didn't end there though, with just seven cars running at the chequered flag - and both title contenders sidelined during the course of the 200 laps.
A spectacular crash on lap 144 involved seven cars, including points leader Dario Franchitti and closest pursuer Scott Dixon, and partially eclipsed the results of the
race. The Scot took the outside line overtaking race leader Dan Wheldon on the backstretch, but the cars touched wheels and Franchitti's #27 Canadian Club entry became airborne, gliding some distance before landing, upside down, on the asphalt.
With nowhere to turn, Dixon's #9 Target Chip Ganassi entry and the #22 Vision Racing car of AJ Foyt IV both ran into Franchitti - the Kiwi actually passing under the #27 as it returned to earth - while Wheldon hit the wall and debris accounted for Sam Hornish Jr, Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter.
Dixon returned to the race long enough to move ahead of Franchitti, who was classified 13th in the results but, with the Scot gaining three bonus points for leading a race-high 101 laps, he retained a 24-point lead heading to the twilight race at Kentucky Speedway.
Franchitti escaped uninjured from his overturned machine, while Wheldon, Scheckter and Carpenter also escaped serious injury despite their cars being eliminated. Dixon and Hornish had heavily damaged machines and made only brief returns to the track, while Foyt made it to lap 168 to claim eighth before joining his rivals in retiring with 'handling problems'.
With returnees Jon Herb and Milka Duno precipitating a retirement list that also included unrelated crash victims Vitor Meira, Helio Castroneves, Sarah Fisher and Darren Manning - the Briton and Castroneves receiving minor leg injuries - Kanaan was left to take a record-breaking 29th Indycar Series win for Andretti Green Racing, and his third success of an up-and-down season.
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