Kanaan: No plans to go anywhere — other than back to victory lane

(Getty Images)

If he has anything to say about it, Tony Kanaan isn’t going anywhere else, any time soon.

Kanaan, who turns 42 on Dec. 31, is having a productive season in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He’s sixth in the standings – he’s been as high as fifth – and finished fourth in Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.

Sure, he’s struggled when it comes to podium finishes in 2016: he has just one in the first 11 races, a runner-up finish at Road America.

But overall, he’s had a decent season. While he hasn’t reached victory lane since the 2014 season, the Brazilian driver has four top-fives and six top-10s this season.

While those numbers could be better, Kanaan has every intention of making it to his 16th IndyCar campaign in 2017 – and he hopes to stay for a fourth season with Chip Ganassi Racing.

“I’m looking to be where I’m at,” Kanaan told NBCSN after Sunday’s race. “I’m looking to be in IndyCar. I’m not ready to go anywhere else.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get it done. You can count on it that  I’ll do everything I can to stay here.”

Kanaan finished a close fourth – and barely missed out on his second podium showing – to third-place finisher James Hinchcliffe in Sunday’s race.

“I think we had something for Hinchcliffe,” Kanaan said. “For sure, I think they had to save fuel and I didn’t.

“It was a risky move for us but it worked out. Big props to Todd (Malloy, lead engineer), Barry (Wanser, strategist) and my NTT Data guys.

“We knew what we had to do. A great call from the guys in the pits. I had the red tires, which were a lot quicker. … I pushed as hard as I could. The problem was, 3 laps in to come in, I destroyed (the tires) trying to get the lead. If it hadn’t been for that last yellow, I think we might have caught Hinch.”

Still, Kanaan thinks better times are on the horizon.

“We’re getting there,” he said. “We’re getting closer and closer every weekend.”

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X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.