Photo: IndyCar

Kanaan enjoys successful first outing with Foyt

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Tony Kanaan had his first official outing with A.J. Foyt Racing at last weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series open test at ISM Raceway. And the 43-year-old, who spent the previous four seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing, enjoyed a solid debut with a team that has undergone a significant revamp over the off-season.

Kanaan ranked in the top five at the end of three out of four sessions between Friday and Saturday, and turned the third fastest lap of the weekend at an average speed of 189.632 mph.

Despite the changes, the most notable being Eric Cowdin joining the team as their new technical director and Kanaan and Matheus Leist as the team’s new drivers, Kanaan was confident that they could be strong out of the box.

Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist during testing at ISM Raceway: Photo: IndyCar

“It’s a good start. I wasn’t surprised at all. Eric (Cowdin) and I, we won (a lot of) races together at this place. It’s one of my favorite race tracks, and one of the tracks where I always do well, so I wasn’t expecting any less,” he asserted following the Friday afternoon session.

Kanaan also highlighted the performance of the rookie Leist, who ranked in the top ten during three sessions himself, including fourth on Friday afternoon, and led Thursday’s rookie test at the track. Leist ultimately turned the 13th fastest lap of the weekend.

“Good start for us. Happy, happy to see the rookie (Leist) right on my tail. It’s good to see both cars up there. The boss is happy which is important.”

In sampling the 2018 aero kit, Kanaan also detailed that a setup that can protect the tires will be crucial to maintaining speed in the car.

“You have to find the right setup to make your tires last, because you need them in the end. You don’t have as much downforce as we used to have. It’s a lot of fun. I’m an old-timer, so it reminds me of my old times.”

A.J. Foyt Racing is scheduled to test again later in February, during a two-day stop at Sebring International Raceway.



NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.