Kanaan on Brazil cancellation: “Big disappointment… everyone caught by surprise”

2 Comments

INDIANAPOLIS – Although he’s raced in both Rio (1998 to 2000) and Sao Paulo (2010 to 2013), Tony Kanaan was welcoming the opportunity to race in Brasilia this March.

And then, within a day, it all went away for reasons outside INDYCAR’s control.

When asked his immediate reaction, Kanaan deadpanned, “Awesome! Couldn’t have come at a better time.”

But the mood quickly turned serious, as you might expect.

“It’s disappointing. I mean, I’ve lived there my entire life and I knew it was a possibility,” Kanaan said during INDYCAR Media Day in Indianapolis.

“My biggest concern was how this was going to affect the series. I guess Mark Miles and his team did a great job protecting that, which at least on that matter I think he explained here couple minutes ago.”

Kanaan admitted he lost some sponsorship as a result.

“It’s a big disappointment. I think everybody got caught by surprise,” he said. “I worry about the fans that got disappointed. I worry about the TV station. They got a lot of stake in the race, got caught by surprise as well. We sold a bunch of tickets. A lot of sponsorship went away with it as well on my end.”

Here was Miles’ take on the Brasilia cancellation:

“Just a comment on the Brasilia situation. You’re right, it had to do with the changing of elections, politics between a national and regional federal district of Brasilia governments.  It wasn’t lost on us they were on schedule and invested an enormous amount of money already in the improvement of that track.

“To be clear, I don’t like it happening.  I think we kind of protected ourselves.”

For Kanaan, he said the series did what they could, which was almost nothing.

“It’s so disappointing. Nothing I can do about it. Nothing the series can do about it. Nothing even the TV, that was the promoter, could do about it. It was a lot higher than that,” he said.

“It’s hard to swallow, hard to understand, and extremely disappointing. I don’t know. I don’t know what else to say. A big disappointment in my country of what they’ve done for us.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”