Seeking to give Chip Ganassi Racing its first win of the season – and seeking to earn his first win as a member of the team – Tony Kanaan led at the halfway point of today’s Pocono IndyCar 500 at Pocono Raceway.
At Lap 100, Kanaan led pole sitter Juan Pablo Montoya by about one second, while Will Power, Helio Castroneves, and rookie Mikhail Aleshin completed the Top 5.
The race started with Marco Andretti attempting to charge to the front and vaulting from fifth to second in the span of one turn. However, he slipped back afterwards and fell to fifth again by Lap 5.
The leaders then settled into a rhythm and tried to stretch their opening fuel loads as far as they could. But on Lap 25, Takuma Sato was forced to go to the pits and there, the engine cover was taken off the car.
Ryan Hunter-Reay went in around Lap 30, but the American driver suffered a suspension issue and his No. 28 Andretti Autosport team was forced to go to the garage for repairs.
NBCSN reported that the lower A-arm mount on the front left corner of the car was the problem area. After the repairs, cameras spotted Hunter-Reay’s crew wheeling him and his car back toward the track.
During the first wave of stops, Andretti was hit with a drive-through penalty for speeding on pit road. Meanwhile, Kanaan powered to the lead at Lap 51 and held it up to his next stop at Lap 59.
Kanaan returned to the lead after this particular cycle, while Montoya settled into second after going five laps farther than the Brazilian on his most recent fuel load.
If Montoya can keep getting better mileage, it might be the key to him scoring what would be his first IndyCar win since his 2000 CART triumph at Gateway Motorsports Park outside St. Louis.
Kanaan, Montoya, and Power continued to maintain first, second, and third positions through the stint until Kanaan once again pitted early at Lap 89, which gave the lead to Montoya.
Two laps later, on Lap 91, Carlos Huertas came to a stop on pit road before he and his stricken car were moved away from the lanes. However, the race stayed green and his Dale Coyne Racing team pushed Huertas back to their pit box when the cycle ended.
On Lap 94, Montoya made his stop and actually came out ahead of Kanaan. But down the Long Pond Straightaway, Kanaan pulled to the inside and passed Montoya to reclaim the lead.