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Indy 500 champ Tony Kanaan chasing history
Besides having his family in town, Kanaan will get guidance from co-driver Hand and the two other Ganassi drivers, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. He could even turn to an old friend, Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, who is teaming with Doug Peterson for Doran Racing. Kanaan and Barrichello found out the same day they would be driving in this race at Indy after they competed together in the 2012 Indy 500.
And if either wins, it would mark the first time any driver has won two major events in Indy history. Barrichello won the 2002 U.S. Grand Prix while driving in Formula One.
Others have tried. Juan Pablo Montoya, who drives for Ganassi’s Cup team, won the 500 in 2000 as a rookie and has competed in both the U.S. Grand Prix and Brickyard 400 but has not made it back to Victory Lane. He’ll get another shot this weekend. Ed Carpenter, this year’s Indy pole winner, and Wade Cunningham both won IndyCar’s developmental series race here, the Freedom 100, but have not won the 500.
Kanaan may have the best shot of all.
“I think Tony’s obviously got momentum, especially at this place, and I think all of the positive energy from everybody to him and to me and to the Ganassi program could make it a good chance to win,” Hand said.
Christian Fittipaldi, the 1995 Indy 500 rookie of the year whose uncle, Emerson, won two championships and two 500s; AJ Allmendinger, who competed in May’s 500 and was a regular on the Cup circuit until failing a drug test last summer; and former Indy starter Max Papis will all compete in the Grand-Am race.
American Jordan Taylor, however, took the pole after turning a fast lap of 1 minute, 22.251 seconds Thursday afternoon. Chad McCumbee, the top qualifier in the Grand-AM ST Series, also is a familiar face to Americans. He played Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the television movie “3: The Dale Earnhardt Story.”
But it’s Kanaan who will be the most watched.
“It’s kind of weird doing a turn one on the opposite side, but I’ll get used to it,” Kanaan said. “I’m just going to relax with my son. I’m going to take him to the museum to do a tour and show him around a little bit. He’s never been here.”
By Tom Fitton
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Let it snow