IndyCar Update: Tony Kanaan leads at halfway in Milwaukee

Leave a comment

Tony Kanaan took control of the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 following pit stops by the leaders shortly before the halfway point at Lap 125. Kanaan currently leads Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, and Juan Pablo Montoya.

The first stint of the race was headlined by two-time defending Milwaukee race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. Needing a big result to keep his championship hopes going, Hunter-Reay charged from 19th on the grid to 11th over the opening 25-30 laps.

Meanwhile up front, pole sitter and Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Power built a lead of about one second over Kanaan while the entire field slowed down dramatically as the tires fell off on performance.

Pagenaud opened the first wave of pit stops on Lap 52, with Power and Kanaan coming in together at Lap 59. The latter two cycled back to first and second when Ed Carpenter went in at Lap 63, and a short time later, Kanaan went to the inside of Power in Turn 3 in an attempt to take the lead from him.

But Power was able to hang tough on the outside to keep the lead, and another attack from Kanaan on the very next lap ended the same way with Power maintaining control.

Power and Kanaan returned to first and second with Briscoe in third, Montoya in fourth despite hitting a wheel on his first pit stop (Race Control gave him a warning instead of a penalty), Helio Castroneves in fifth, and Hunter-Reay moving further up to sixth.

Around Lap 90, both Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden got past Castroneves for fifth and sixth respectively; NBCSN’s Kevin Lee later reported that Castroneves’ slide was due to understeer on his No. 3 Team Penske Chevy.

Shortly after Lap 100, the second wave of pit stops began. Kanaan went in for service at Lap 114, but Power opted to stretch his tires out to Lap 121. Unfortunately for him, that decision backfired as Kanaan passed Power on track to take the lead for the first time this afternoon.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Leave a comment

Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

Follow @KyleMLavigne