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.”

Hinch boldly “goes” where many drivers have gone before

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One of the most common questions racing drivers face is “What happens if you have to use the bathroom when you’re driving?”

And the most common answer is “You just go.” While admittedly a little disgusting, it is nonetheless a problem that occasionally surfaces, and an innumerable amount of drivers have done so in their careers.

However, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe apparently had never found himself in such a predicament in his career. That is, until Sunday in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

While under the first red flag for rain, Hinchcliffe started to receive “nature’s call.” Unable to get out of the car to use a restroom – drivers had not been permitted to get out of their cars – Hinchcliffe was forced to wait and hold it.

But when the cars briefly took to the track again prior to a second red flag, it became too much to handle, and Hinch was forced to “relieve himself” while circulating under caution.

“I always maintained that I knew at some point in my career it would happen,” he quipped to NBCSN’s Kevin Lee.”

He added, “I was sitting there under that first red (flag), just begging to get three minutes. That’s all you need, (steering wheel off to wheel on). And when we got going again, my legs were shaking, I had to go so bad. I’m like ‘I can’t drive a race car like this.’ So under caution, it took me a full lap, it was one of the least comfortable experiences of my entire life, but I can officially say I’ve joined the likes of Will Power, Dario Franchitti, and other greats that have peed themselves in their suit.”

Social media reaction added to the moment’s hilarity, with SPM and teammate Robert Wickens weighing in.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal also chimed in, coming to Hinchcliffe’s defense.

Hinchcliffe, fully refreshed, will restart the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in fifth when racing resumes on Monday.

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