As MotorSportsTalk continues our driver-by-driver review of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series, we head next to the guy who gets to enjoy the last race win of the year an entire offseason: Tony Kanaan in P7.
- Team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
- 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
- 2014: 7th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 2nd, 6 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 12 Top-10, 407 Laps Led, 9.2 Avg. Start, 9.3 Avg. Finish
The old dog has some life in him yet. A frustrating first half of the year through Texas Motor Speedway in early June raised eyebrows both about Tony Kanaan’s desire and his ability level taking over arguably one of IndyCar’s highest profile seats, the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. But a dynamic run of form from Houston onward ensured that TK still had it, and could rise to the task of delivering in the 10 car.
There was only one top-five (a third in Detroit race one) in the first eight races. But from his being punted from a podium in Houston one, his dominance at Pocono and Iowa, a Toronto double podium, a third at Milwaukee and a clutch win at Fontana, Kanaan was perhaps the driver of the second half of the year.
You could put that second half gain down to several factors. He’d finally begun to gel within the CGR environment, with new engineer Chris Simmons, and got a handle on the chassis-to-engine dynamic as the team itself was acclimating to the Chevrolet switch. Kanaan’s overall qualifying average was only 9.2, which didn’t belie his actual speed. The first nine races, he had four starts of 16th or worse, including two from the final row. The last nine, Kanaan qualified in the top-10 every race, a run of form that was unrivaled in the series. All told, a positive end to a comeback season where Kanaan had greater speed, greater consistency and greater results.