Kanaan records season-best finish with second at Road America (VIDEO)

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Tony Kanaan came away from Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America satisfied with his best result of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season so far.

From third on the grid, Kanaan tried to dive down the inside of pole-sitter Will Power and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon at the first corner, but was forced to settle back into his starting position.

Kanaan took the fight to Power through the middle stint of the race after Dixon retired, only to slip behind Simon Pagenaud and come under pressure from Graham Rahal ahead of the late full course caution called following Conor Daly’s crash.

Running on alternate red Firestone tires, Kanaan produced a late charge that saw him sweep past Pagenaud before piling pressure on Power late on.

On the final lap, Power used the Push-to-Pass that he had saved to defend from Kanaan, leaving the Brazilian to settle for second at the checkered flag.

“That extra lap of yellow definitely didn’t help us because we had the faster tire,” Kanaan told NBCSN after the race.

“[Power] did a good job saving his Push-to-Pass. The extra lap, maybe if we both ran out of Push-to-Pass, that was probably going to be interesting.

“Great job, the guys did a great job in the pits. During the race up front, there wasn’t a lot of battles, but towards the end I think I made them excited.”

Kanaan was impressed by IndyCar’s long-awaited return to Road America, saying that the championship could do with more events like the KOHLER Grand Prix.

“We need more events like this,” he said.

“This, Mid-Ohio, places where people can camp and bring their kids, these are the races we need.

“Great job by IndyCar and Road America. Can’t wait for next year.”

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.