Front-wing damage ends Kanaan’s Triple Crown dream

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Another inch or two and maybe Tony Kanaan’s bid to win IndyCar’s Triple Crown is still alive. Instead, it’s done after a 13th-place finish in today’s Pocono IndyCar 400 at Pocono Raceway.

The Indianapolis 500 champion needed to win this afternoon at Pocono in order to put himself into position to race for $1 million at the season finale in October at Auto Club Speedway.

And Kanaan was a threat to do just that, staying toward the front of the field up to Lap 106, when he made an attempt to pass eventual race winner Scott Dixon in Turn 1 for the lead.

Kanaan pulled off the pass but not before the right side of his front wing clipped Dixon’s left rear wheel guard. At first, it appeared that the Brazilian had gotten away with it but onboard cameras on his No. 11 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet showed the wing coming loose and on Lap 110, Kanaan was called in to replace the nosecone.

With the stop coming under green flag conditions, Kanaan lost a lap and fell out of contention.

“I apologized to the crew several times,” he said in a team release. “I made a mistake and it cost us big. I had a run on Dixon, but didn’t really think that I was closing that fast on him.”

Kanaan, who led 15 laps on Sunday, could still bag some Triple Crown cash later this fall. A $250,000 bonus for winning two of the three Crown events remains in play for both himself and Dixon at ACS.

Still, the former IZOD IndyCar Series champion regretted how Pocono wound up for him and his team.

“We had a car that was capable of winning this race and putting us in a position to contend for the Triple Crown and the $1 million prize,” he said. “We still have a chance to win in Fontana and collect $250,000, but I just feel bad for the crew because they worked so hard to give me a very competitive car.”

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.