Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tony Kanaan: I haven't been around all these years because I'm a lucky guy.

Tony Kanaan came home 4th at St. Pete. 
INDYCAR veteran Tony Kanaan finished fourth at St. Pete this past Sunday, his 107th top five in his career. That ties him with Gordon Johncock and Helio Castoneves for 10th all-time. The Brazilian is also closing in on Jimmy Vassar's record for consecutive starts. Today, he spoke with the media on the longevity of his career, breaking in a new teammate in Simona De Silvestro and the next race on the schedule at Barber.

"I haven't been around all these years because I'm a lucky guy." TK said. He added "So hopefully being part of the record book, it's awesome, you're part of history, you did well in your career. I didn't know about my top -5 finishes. That's awesome. I don't count them a lot. But trying to beat Jimmy Vasser on the most consecutive starts will be great. I think by the time we get to Baltimore, that's when it's going to be. Hopefully him being my boss, he will let me do that. Hopefully he won't sit me out for a couple races because I'm going to beat his record."

So Kanaan has a new teammate. Is he feeling that with Simona? Is she pushing him any further? Does he feel like he's going to have to step up to not get beat by her? "For sure. It's two different things. When Rubens came in, he was definitely pushing me. But because of our relationship, we've been like brothers forever, it was completely different. Simona brought a lot of spark and light into the team. I enjoy working with her. I have no problem teaching her whatever I can. But I like to see this young girl that wants to do well, because that's her opportunity. That obviously pushes me to my limit. I'm going to admit that she's extremely fast. I said that even before she was my teammate, so I'm not trying to make any excuses. For me it's good. I learned my entire career. I had hard teammates. I had (Alex) Zanardi as a teammate, Dario (Franchitti) as a teammate, (Ryan) Hunter-Reay as a teammate. Those are people that are extremely good. It's good to get beat sometimes. That's how we learn. Me and Simona, if we keep working together to make KV successful, I think that's the secret. I'm going to beat her sometimes, she's going to beat me sometimes. We're going to be cool. She's not going to like the days I finish ahead of her and likewise. As long as we use that to our advantage, it's going to be awesome. To answer your question, yes, it's a different time. It's a young blood that really wants to do well. The relationship between her and me right now, it reminds me of when me and Zanardi were teammates back in the day." Kanaan said.

Is he optimistic about Barber? "We're going to be talking about how competitive this series is for every racetrack we go. I don't see us or anybody pulling away. Barber, obviously we had the opportunity to test, so I think it will bring the field closer there because everybody got their hands on a couple days of testing. I think the racing will be really exciting. Last year we already witnessed that with a lot of passing, a lot of action. I don't expect anything different."

Kanaan won his championship in 2004. What does it take for a contender to become a champion? "Well, I think he has to be in the right place at the right time, got to be able to sustain the pressure. I think the better you do, the more pressure you're going to get. Nowadays I think talent, there's no question that we had plenty of them around, but a complete driver will be the one that will be able to manage a difficult situation or a situation that he is under pressure over the course of a championship and overcome that. A lot of times people don't do well like that. So I would say the biggest advice, if I could give to anybody, what it takes, it would be consistency and be smart every race weekend to be able to judge. Sometimes if you have a fourth-place car, you try to finish fourth. Otherwise those will be points you waste away. As we witnessed the last three years the championship was decided on points the last race. I think that would be the biggest key."

Photo Credit: Indycar

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