IndyCar Driver Review: Tony Kanaan

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With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

In 11th place, your 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion, Tony Kanaan…

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Tony Kanaan

  • Team: KV Racing Technology – SH
  • 2012: 9th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 3rd
  • 2013: 11th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 4th, 4 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 7 Top-10, 79 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.7 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: The year qualifies as a success because of “TK’s” overdue, popular and totally deserved first Indianapolis 500 victory. And it’s a good thing he achieved that, because objectively, the other 18 races have to be viewed as mixed by comparison. TK has admitted the team focused more on its oval setup and it showed; on road or street courses, the team’s qualifying form was erratic and you never knew whether Kanaan would crack the Firestone Fast Six or not even make it out of Q1. He only posted two top-10 finishes on road and street courses (fourth at St. Petersburg, fifth at Toronto Race 1) in 13 races. On ovals meanwhile he remains one of the best, but there simply aren’t enough of them to compensate for a road/street points deficiency. A change of scenery will do him well even though he fought to “get the old band back together” at KV.

Estrada says: Kanaan’s win at the Indy 500 could go down as one of the most popular in the history of the storied race. But while the Brazilian was able to keep toward the front on the other ovals, he couldn’t do the same in many of the road/street events and that means trouble in this series. His qualifying on the twisty tracks was altogether poor (only three Firestone Fast Six berths in 13 RC/SC races) and that put him on the back foot way too often on race days. But now that he’s migrated from KVSH to Chip Ganassi Racing, you would think that an improvement in road/street performance is coming for Kanaan in 2014.