Third place in Detroit Dual 1 not enough for Tony Kanaan

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Expectations were high when Tony Kanaan joined Target Chip Ganassi Racing to replace the retiring Dario Franchitti. They still are.

Never mind the fact that Kanaan’s third-place finish in today’s first race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit was his first Top-5 finish of the year.

This team demands much more than that, and its newest driver wants to deliver.

But Kanaan did recognize that P3 was still progress.

“”You can’t be happy finishing third,” the former Indy 500 winner said. “We want to win, so we’re working toward that direction.

“But it was a great race for us. We got great restarts, great pit stops, and the strategy played out in our favor big time.

“We have tonight to work on it, and tomorrow, I want to put that thing in P1.”

Kanaan quickly got to work in the No. 10 Energizer/Target Chevrolet, jumping from eighth to fifth on the opening lap of the 70-lap race. However, he had fallen a couple of positions by the time he pitted under yellow with teammate Scott Dixon at Lap 18.

As the numerous strategies in the field played out, Kanaan fell into the pack but was able to rise up into the Top 5 again by the time he made his last stop.

After Mikhail Aleshin brought out the caution with 15 laps remaining for his spin, Kanaan lined up fourth for the final restart and moved into podium position when Ryan Briscoe pitted from the lead with eight laps left.

Following the race, Kanaan was spotted talking to his boss, Chip Ganassi. In his post-race TV interview, he was asked about that conversation.

“I said, ‘Chip, I want to win. I’m happy that I’m third, but I want to win for you so bad,'” the Brazilian disclosed. “That’s all I said.”

Both Kanaan and TCGR have won numerous races and championships. And they both know that, for them, third place is still far short of the ultimate goal.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.