Tony Kanaan easily was the second happiest man in St. Louis after netting his first podium in nearly two and a half seasons in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500.

The Brazilian caught a lucky break on Lap 192 when Sebastien Bourdais spun during the final round of pitstops. That secured Kanaan, eventual race winner Takuma Sato and Ed Carpenter on a lap of their own which kept them up front on the restart.

Kanaan tailed Sato for 40 laps before relinquishing the runner up spot to Carpenter, who ended up within a half car length of Sato at the checkered flag. Kanaan held onto third despite a hard charge from Santino Ferrucci.

The 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion noted while he didn't have anything for Carpenter he was determined to hold onto the final rung of the podium.

"Ed got extremely strong at the end and I couldn't hold him up," he said. "I actually opted to let him go and hold onto third place because I knew how Santino was so fast and I'm like, man, I've got to go."

Kanaan started the 248-lap race 20th and picked up spots early before settling midpack until the opportune yellow moved him to a podium spot. He noted that while fortune fell his way, he had a competitive car and the rewarded track position was merely icing on the cake.

"We didn't have the strongest car, but once you put ourselves into front – I think people knew what I had. So days like this, sometimes you have to evaluate what you got and what do you want to do, you know? And then I think a podium, that's what I was aiming for."

It marks the first podium for the team since Kanaan came aboard in 2017 amongst many tough times for the Indianapolis-based squad.

"It hasn't been a very uplifting here for all of us," he said. "So this is this for the boys."

"We've been overcoming a lot of adversities throughout the year. We've been hearing a lot of things, good things and bad things, some support, some people thinking we shouldn't be doing this.

"This is a great night for us. It paid off. When I joined A.J. Foyt Racing, it was to make this team better. We've been struggling quite a bit. This is a great night for us."

Kanaan also attributed the solid result to team principal Larry Foyt hiring veteran engineer Don Halliday. Halliday, who is semi-retired, worked with Kanaan at Tasman Racing in Indy Lights in 1996-97 before moving up to Indy cars in 1998. The 21 season Indy car veteran felt the chemistry reignite almost instantly.

"Don is extremely experienced and I think he came in to give us some clarity," He's very experienced and he was brought on for damage control. Don is an awesome guy. I've got to thank Larry and AJ for doing that and Don to actually come out of retirement and help us out."

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