- Associated Press - Sunday, September 4, 2011

BALTIMORE (AP) - Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves ran into each other during the morning practice run at the Baltimore Grand Prix, and it wasn’t merely a casual encounter between two Brazilians.

Kanaan lost his brakes and came to stop after soaring over the right side top of Castroneves‘ car. The mishap occurred as Castroneves was breaking into Turn 1.

Neither driver was hurt, but both were forced to use backup cars in the race.

“I was actually lucky that Helio was there. He saved my life,” Kanaan said. “I lost my brakes, and I was heading straight to the wall. I’m glad that both of us are OK.”

Castroneves said, “To be honest, I was glad I was there. Maybe I softened his impact.”

Because both drivers had to change cars, they started from the back of the pack.

“He was very apologetic, but there’s nothing to apologize for,” Castroneves said. “It was a mechanical issue that wasn’t his fault.”

Starting 27th, Kanaan ran a brilliant race to finish third.

The mishap before the race helped Kanaan realize the important things in life.

“This morning I woke up and was in a bad mood. I was complaining about things that didn’t matter,” he said. “I think somebody was trying to tell me that I have it good.”

Castroneves came in 17th.


START YOUR ENGINES: Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell served as grand marshal of the race and barked the order, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” to begin the show.

Before that, Powell rode in the back of a two-seat IndyCar with two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Al Unser.

“I like to tell my friends that I led the Indy 500 for three laps,” said Powell, who previously served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “I would like to do it again.” he said.

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