Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Tony Kanaan not worried over slow start with Ganassi

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Tony Kanaan’s first two races for Target Chip Ganassi Racing could have gone better, but the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion isn’t perturbed.

Kanaan overcame a fuel mixture issue to finish sixth in the season opener at St. Petersburg, but was one of several drivers collected in a multi-car crash at Long Beach.

As a result, the Brazilian sits 11th early on in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship, which makes its third stop of the season this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park (Sun., 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

Last night on Indianapolis’ 1070 The Fan, Kanaan told Indianapolis Star writer Curt Cavin that the slow start to 2014 isn’t because he’s still acclimating to the Ganassi camp.

“I’m not gonna sit here and say ‘Oh, I need to get used to the team, I need to learn this or learn that,'” he said on “Trackside.” “It’s just the series is extremely competitive – and when I signed up for this deal, I knew it was not going to be easy.

“If anybody thought we were gonna win every race, that’s not the case. That’s not gonna happen. [That mindset is] not counting the good guys we have against us right now.

“I’m not where I want to be in the championship right now to be honest with you, but the good thing is we have a race this weekend and we can change that.”

Still, Kanaan figured that he and the rest of the field will likely have to go through IndyCar points leader Will Power and his own TCGR teammate, Scott Dixon, at Barber.

The Aussie and the Kiwi are perennially strong in Alabama. Power has two wins at Barber (2011, 2012), while Dixon has claimed four consecutive runner-up finishes there.

Facing such stiff competition, Kanaan acknowledged that he needed to step it up in the weeks ahead, which also include the series’ first visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course and then preparations for the Indianapolis 500.

“To be honest, I think we definitely have to do a better job,” he said.  “That’s why I’m here [in Indy] this week, working with the team.

“It won’t be the first time that we have to turn our situation around. I actually work better under pressure.”

NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

Follow @JerryBonkowski