INDIANAPOLIS – Its been a long 45 races since Tony Kanaan last visited victory lane in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In fact, that win at Fontana in the 2014 season finale was his lone victory since joining Chip Ganassi Racing. He’d had 12 podiums in four seasons with them, but just three of which have come in the last two years. That’s why his future with the team past this season is in doubt.
But, Kanaan’s desire and passion hasn’t wavered. He’s still hungry for wins and his best shot to get back to victory lane before the season is over is this weekend at the Pocono Raceway.
With a short oval at Gateway next week, Chevrolet will obviously be the ones to beat there. Kanaan drives a a Honda. Then, it’s two natural road courses left, where Kanaan finished 19th and 13th respectively a year ago.
But, Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 (2 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network) is an event where the popular Brazilian could actually be a favorite. Kanaan has had seven top five finishes since the start of the 2016 season, five of which have come on ovals, including the only two top fives he’s had this season.
As far as oval points go, Kanaan ranks third out of everyone this season. On the two superspeedway events this year, the same aero package used this weekend at Pocono, Kanaan finished in the top five in each. He came home fifth in the Indianapolis 500 and second at Texas. If the trend continues, he will dominate and win Sunday at the Tricky Triangle.
Plus, Kanaan has a Honda, as I stated earlier. While Chevy may have an advantage on short ovals like Gateway next weekend, Honda has every bit as much of an advantage on superspeedways. With Ganassi being arguably the top Honda team, the flagship one at that, it’s no wonder that Kanaan and Scott Dixon will be the biggest beneficiaries of that and the odds on favorites this weekend.
“Pocono is definitely the type of track that I normally thrive at, and the ‘Tricky Triangle’ is such an interesting place to race with the three completely different corners,” Kanaan said ahead of this weekend’s race. “You have to get so many little things right to suit each corner, before you can really be successful. The No. 10 NTT Data Honda is definitely due for a win and Pocono would be a great place for that to happen.”
I would bet Kanaan’s aggression is turned up even more this weekend, he knows this could be his last big audition to land a ride for 2018.