By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
INDIANAPOLIS — Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan had one of the more interesting races of guys who finished in the top five during the 101st Indianapolis 500.
Kanaan led 22 laps early, hit debris in an accident, and had two teammates retire. But the 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner managed to come home fifth despite the challenges he faced.
“I think we did okay. We had a damaged car, Kanaan said. “After one of the crashes I ran over some of the debris and it broke the other wing on my car so I knew toward the end that I didn’t have anything for those guys, but a great day, [I’m] happy for Sato, happy for Honda, I mean that guy was huge in Japan before, now I cannot even imagine.
“Honda is a great manufacturer that supports this series for quite a while, I know how much they wanted a Japanese guy to win, he had some close calls in the past so I’m happy for him.”
Kanaan was Sato’s teammate in 2011 at KV Racing Technology and got to know Sato firsthand and doesn’t think Sato will realize what he has accomplished.
“I don’t think [Sato]’s going to realize it until a long time. You know, Taku, we call him “No Attack No Chance” and he deserved this one today.”
Outside of the positive, Kanaan had team issues to deal with. Polesitter Scott Dixon led five laps but was involved in a savage accident with Jay Howard on Lap 53 that necessitated a red flag. Kanaan barely slipped by Howard’s out of control car.
Later in the race, Charlie Kimball had an engine failure that sidelined him after leading five laps, dropping him to a 25th place finish.
Kanaan still persevered, not allowing himself to get out of the top ten cars in the last 125 miles. That was good enough to help secure fifth, right behind teammate Max Chilton.