INDYCAR SERIES SunTrust Indy ChallengeFinal
Kanaan earns checkered flag at RichmondJun 29, 2008 - 4:41 AM RICHMOND, Virginia (Ticker) -- More than midway through the season, Tony Kanaan finally got on the board.
From the pole position, Kanaan recorded his first IndyCar Series win of the season by taking the checkered flag Saturday in the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway.
A 33-year-old Brazilian, Kanaan claimed his 13th career victory in this caution-filled race by averaging 108.790 miles per hour. It was his third time in Victory Lane when starting from the pole.
"It was a tough race at first but once we got going, I knew we could do it with this car," Kanaan said. "The problem was we had a lot of yellows and people making mistakes. But traffic was really good at the head of the field. It was a great race apart from all of the yellow flags."
The race was marred by a record-tying nine yellow flags which caused the drivers to spend 102 of the 300 laps under caution.
Helio Castroneves, who started in a season-worst 18th position, finished 4.769 seconds behind Kanaan to claim second place.
"We tried everything to win," Castroneves said. "Team Penske did a great job in our pit stops. I was driving my wheels off of it.
"I was trying everything I could to make up spots. The only chance I had to close in on the leaders was mostly on restarts and at the start of the race."
Series points leader Scott Dixon came in third while his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dan Wheldon finished fourth.
"I was trying to be aggressive while trying to finish the race," Wheldon said. "It was difficult behind the other cars, and we knew there would be more than a few wrecks tonight."
Dixon, who holds a 43-point lead over Castroneves, has not finished outside the top four in any of the nine races in 2008.
"It was a tough night,"Dixon said. "We had a very good car even though it was very tough to pass here. I think if we were out front, we had a car to win. But (Kanaan) definitely looked pretty strong tonight."
Spaniard Oriol Servia had his best finish ever in the IndyCar Series by rounding out the top five, just ahead of Indy Japan 300 winner Danica Patrick.
"When we unloaded the car. right away I said we have a top-five car and fortunately was able to prove it," Servia said. "I'm very pleased with how the team performed."
Patrick just seemed glad to cross the finish line.
"It was a carnage-fest out there tonight with all the wrecks and cautions," Patrick said. "I am happy with my finish, but obviously I wish we could have finished in the top five."