For Kanaan, his final track position was the result of two long green flag stints, whcih allowed him to be just one of four cars on the lead lap on lap 190 when Sebastien Bourdais spun near the end of green flag pit stops.
That allowed Sato, Kanaan, Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden to retain their track position upon pitting, since everyone else needed a wave around to get back on the lead lap.
“I think we were strong. We had a great strategy,” Kanaan said. “The Chevy and the fuel mileage we had, actually got us to the point that we got lucky with that yellow. Once we had the track position, the car was fast and we were able to perform.”
Kanaan took the final restart from second-place with 43 laps to go and regrets not making more of the opportunity.
“Sato got a run on me on the restart,” he said. “After that I had to measure and decide what I wanted to do. Do I need to attack? Did I have anything to attack? If I was going to keep it on the podium, which is a great result for us …
“Once he took off and opened a little bit of a lead, I said, ‘I’m going to sit here and see what happens.’ I was waiting for him to hit traffic. Unfortunately, when we all in traffic, we all got in trouble. I got a little bit loose. Ed got me. It was one of those things.”
The result was well-timed for the No. 14 team. Foyt has made a lot of changes over the past calandar year. Kanaan and teammate Matheus Leist have struggled to consistently post results. Kanaan is averaging a career worst 15th-place this season.
“We’ve been overcoming a lot of adversity throughout the year,” he noted. “We’ve been hearing a lot of things, good things and bad things — some support, some people thinking we shouldn’t be doing this. When I joined A.J. Foyt Racing, it was to make this team better. We’ve been struggling quite a bit. A result like this, it’s a huge boost for everybody.”
The team added Scott Harner as vice president of operations in February. Alongside team principal Larry Foyt, they are trying to turn this figurative ship around with Kanaan’s veteran experience.
“Slowly we’re turning it around,” Kanaan said. “Things are happening. They take time. We do have a great organization. All credit to Larry — there’s nothing that we haven’t asked Larry to do that he hasn’t done for us. It’s on us. It’s on me. It’s on my engineer. It’s on Harner. It’s on the entire team.
“We brought Don Halliday back, who is a guy from my first year in America, 1996, — he was engineering me at Tasman (Motorsports). He came in to do some damage control. It’s been great.
“So, yes, it was a good result. Obviously let’s not get ahead of the game. We still have two races to go, still have a lot of work to do. I’ll take it, enjoy it tonight and go back to work tomorrow.”
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