IndyCar veterans still going strong as careers wind down – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-05-28 03:11:21 –

Indianapolis (AP) — Tony Kanaan sat in the Chip Ganassi Racing suite one day in May, tasting a rare second IndyCar.

Indianapolis (AP) — One day this May, Tony Kanaan sat in the Chip Ganassi Racing suite and enjoyed a rare second IndyCar Fairwell tour.

At the age of 46, Canaan and his veteran run a part-time schedule with no future guarantees and talented young drivers are chasing them, watching sunset approaching one of IndyCar’s greatest generations. can do.

Four of the 33 starters in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday are in the top 12 in terms of career wins. Ryan Hunter-Reay is tied for 24th place. Juan Pablo Montoya has spent 13 seasons in F1 and NASCAR, but needs one win to finish 18th with Hunter-Reay, and Juan Pablo Montoya is only two wins behind Canaan. ..

These seven amazing guys are all in their 40s and have won a total of 207 wins, 14 series champions and 9 Indianapolis 500s since they emerged as the most respected star in the series in the last 20 years. And their passion and personality around the world has changed the sport.

“Every year since then, I’ve realized how special the year has been,” Canaan said Thursday, referring to four drivers who fit in Michael Andretti’s garage in the 2000s. What we got, what we did was show that you race each other and have a lot of fun with your teammates. “

It has become a blueprint for repairing the damage caused by the long-standing division of the American Open Wheel Race series.

Andretti’s team featured a cheerful Brazilian, Kanaan. Resolute Scottish Dario Franchitti. A laid-back American, Brian Hertha. And beloved British driver Dan Wheldon.

On the truck, they were a great power.

Franchitti won 31 races and three times in 500 seconds, but was forced to retire in November 2014 due to a horrific crash. Beloved Weldon won the Indy 16 times and twice, but died at the age of 33 due to an injury inflicted in a 2011 crash in Las Vegas. Hertha won four series wins, with her son Colton second in the race on Sunday, and Canaan won the series title in 2004 and 500 in 2013.

Off the track, they playfully become close friends, hiding all of Weldon’s driver’s shoes, and cutting Canaan’s mountain bike in half while Canan is interviewing TV. And changed the petrol array forever.

Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden said when asked about the pranks that are still taking place today, “I think this speaks to the series’ companionship.” It’s as competitive as sports, but away from the track, it’s this casual. Let’s get along with everyone. “

That’s why Marco Andretti celebrated all the drivers side by side in the pit row when he won the Indy500 pole last year, and raced with Weldon who helped test drive the future IndyCar before his death. Explaining the reasons for those who did, or the late Justin Wilson, can’t hide their sadness just by hearing their names.

And as all these up-and-coming young stars are starting to catch up with IndyCar’s older politicians, other stars continue to overtake Father Time.

Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing is a six-time series champion, point leader and Sunday pole sitter. If he wins his second 500 wins this weekend, Dixon will be second in history, alongside Mario Andretti (52), and will be in a position alongside AJ Foyt as the seven-time IndyCar Champion. Will stay. If he leads 82 laps, Dixon will break Al Unser’s career mark in 500 laps (644 laps).

There is a reason why the 40-year-old New Zealander is at the top.

“I love my job. I think that passion is at the forefront,” Dixon said. “Chip and Mike Hull are the two most competitive people I know, and their push is arguably at the forefront.”

That also applies to other people in this generation who prioritize physical fitness.

Canaan participated in the triathlon. Hélio Castroneves, who won the Indy 500 three times, incorporated weight training, cycling, swimming and even dancing into his fitness routine. Hunter-Reay has started freediving.

There is no doubt that it was useful.

Hunter-Reay, 40, wants to win his second 500 crown after qualifying in 7th place last weekend. He stands one step ahead of Castroneves. Castroneves is a vibrant 46-year-old Brazilian from Michael Shank Racing. He is aiming to win the record-breaking fourth race again.

“It was a great group and I learned a lot from them,” Castroneves said. It would make you better and I would probably not have been so successful without them boosting me. “

They are not stopped.

Two-time Indy winner, 45-year-old Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, will make his first IndyCar start in four years from 24th place at the Arrow McLaren SP.

If France’s Sebastien Baudet returns Voith to the winning lane, the winners of the four series champions and 37 races will be the third oldest 500 winners at 42 years and 91 days.

Will Power, a 40-year-old Australian from Team Penske, faces the most difficult task in 32nd place in qualifying. However, if he wins, he will be ahead of Al Unser (39), leading to a tiebreaker in fifth place on his career’s winning list.

“It’s like the first era after the split, so it’s really cool to be a driver in this era,” Power said. “Because of the parity, data, and what’s on board, this is really the highest quality field ever. You’ve won nine winners in this year’s race, but you’ve probably seen such a race since the 90’s. But now drivers and engineers are more important, and it’s important to make it the simplest and most detailed. “

And one thing is clear: Canaan is ready to park his car when he sees a change of guards in his garage with teammates like Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou. Not done.

“They remind us of our relationship with Andretti,” said Canaan. “You can see. I think we showed people something special. You are looking at the world now, but it’s very cool to see people getting along.


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