Tony Kanaan kept his hopes for a second IndyCar Series title alive on Sunday by winning a wild Detroit Indy Grand Prix at the Raceway at Belle Isle.
Kanaan, who claimed his IndyCar Series-best fifth victory this season, stayed on the track while most of the leaders pitted during a late-race caution and was in front when IndyCar Series officials declared the race a timed event rather than its scheduled 90 laps due to the mandated 2 hour, 10 minute time limit for all road/street events.
“It was a tough race. We got a good start. I got ahead of Dario and at that point I had to save fuel because we did not put a lot of fuel in. The luck was on my side, we got another yellow and that worked out perfectly,” said Tony.
“Some of the races this year, luck was on the opposite side of me and it looks like we turned that situation around here at the end of the season. So five wins in the season. We're going for six – trying to break Dan's (Wheldon) record. So we'll see.
“We're very happy for the whole 7-Eleven Team. I've got to thank the fans. I've got to thank Roger Penske for bringing this race back. It's a great event. I'm glad we're going to come back here next year.”
As the leaders raced on the next-to-last lap of the 89-lap event though, the second-place car of Buddy Rice ran out of fuel, triggering a three-car accident that also involved IndyCar Series title contenders Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti.
“Obviously, it was a crash-fest, and I just hate to get involved in the points championship because of where I'm at. Those two (Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti) were battling it out and to take them out with a lap to go or get involved in an accident because I ran out of fuel is just disappointing for everybody involved,” Rice admitted.
“Track position was key for us today. I think we finally got a car that was fast, and we were able to run the times of the leaders. It was just hard to get by and that second stint we kept moving up and passing people. Things were starting to come together. It's just disappointing to be squeezed that tight on fuel.
“We thought it was a timed race, and we were in a position to be fine and then once they kept running it out, we ran out of fuel. I had no place to go really. It's very difficult to get out of the way.