Legends Trophy

Mario Andretti added to Legends Trophy for Indianapolis race Saturday

Leave a comment

The Legends Trophy has added another Indianapolis 500 winner to an already stacked field for its race Saturday at virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Mario Andretti, who won the Indy 500 in 1969, announced on Twitter that he would become the seventh former Brickyard winner in the field.

Past Indy 500 winners Emerson Fittipaldi, Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Gil de Ferran and Tony Kanaan already were entered in The Race All-Star Esports event and are regular competitors in the Legends Trophy.

REAL FUN IN SIMULATIONDario Franchitti loving Legends Trophy experience

EMMO’S RETURNAt 73, Fittipaldi has taken to sim racing

CAMARADERIE, COMPETITIONAdrian Fernandez enjoys sim racing second chapter

The simulation racing series, which is open to former drivers older than 40 (but also recently drew surprise cameos by Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel), features a collection of ex-Formula One, IndyCar, sports car and rally stars.

Among those who compete regularly: Jenson Button (the points leader), Jan Magnussen, Emanuele Pirro, Mika Salo, Adrian Fernandez, Max Papis and Petter Solberg.

Alonso also has announced he will be racing Saturday at the virtual Brickyard (where he intends to race his second Indy 500 when the 104th running takes place Aug. 23 on NBC).

At 80, Andretti will be the oldest driver in the field (after the 73-year-old Fittipaldi) and will be competing against many drivers who didn’t have the chance to race the legend whose career ended in 1994.

Naturally, many of them are excited.

IndyCar: Tony Kanaan’s ‘Last Lap’ begins at Texas Motor Speedway

Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The streak lives for Tony Kanaan. At least for one more race.

With Kanaan running only ovals during his farewell IndyCar season in 2020 – which has been dubbed the “Last Lap” – his record streak of 317 consecutive Indy-car starts was to end with the season opener March 15 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Fate had other plans. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the postponement of St. Pete (now the season finale in October) amid the shutdown of American sports.

IndyCar has made multiple changes to its 2020 schedule since then, and as a result, Kanaan is getting an opportunity to extend his “Ironman” streak.

The 2004 NTT IndyCar Series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner is set for career start No. 318 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway – driving the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet alongside the team’s new full-season driver, Charlie Kimball, in the No. 4 Chevy.

“A lot of people ask me how I coped with the delay of the season,” Kanaan said Monday in an IndyCar Zoom news conference. “To be honest, I was mentally prepared already because my first real race was going to be the [Indy] 500. My mind was already set for May.

“I only really had to delay, what, a couple of weeks from what I was originally scheduled to do. For me, I think it wasn’t as hard as for the other guys that were already in St. Pete, ready to go.”

But while his mindset is locked in, Kanaan notes that he’s been out of a race car for eight months. In fact, as of Monday, he hadn’t sat in a car fitted with the new Aeroscreen cockpit protection system.

However, he is no stranger to the wild and woolly action at Texas. Ditto for his new-slash-old teammate, Kimball: The two competed together at Chip Ganassi Racing from 2014-17.

That experience is something A.J. Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt is grateful to have on his side.

“Going into this race, it’s huge,” Foyt said. “Especially with the one-day show, everything is accelerated, and going to a big track like Texas, having a guy like Charlie sit on the pole there [in 2017], knows his way around there, and obviously TK is very good there, as well.

“It’s a little bit of peace of mind for sure. Anything can happen, but the engineering group has been working really well together. We’re really hopeful we’re going to unload and get these guys some good cars out of the box. That’s the plan.”

Speaking of Kimball, the Californian is set to revive his full-time career in the sport after making just seven starts last season with Carlin.

He’s enjoyed his unexpected free time at home with his wife, Kathleen, and their two children, Hannah and newborn son Gordon, who arrived in March. But he’s grateful to get back in the car – and to accompany Tony on his ‘last lap.’

“We’re friends off the track,” Charlie said. “We train together. He’s gotten me addicted to riding a bicycle on a computer game, but also our wives are friends, and I think our families when we can get together and the kids can play, I think they’re going to interact really well. I’m excited for his daughter Nina to spend some time with our daughter.

“And the experience – I mean, he’s taught me things and I’ve learned a lot from him about how to restart on ovals and what you can and what you should and shouldn’t do and what he still does. That experience is invaluable to me to continue to learn and get better. I just feel really honored to be his teammate during his last lap, especially when we get back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.”

The NTT IndyCar Series season begins Saturday night from Texas Motor Speedway with the Genesys 300 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The race will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.