Tony Kanaan: “I knew it was going to be a shootout in the end”

Tony Kanaan finished fifth in the Indy 500 on Sunday - Credit: Forrest Mellott / IndyCar

Tony Kanaan felt it was pretty much a race of survival in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, but with damage of his own, he was unable to better fifth position at the chequered flag.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver led 21 laps at the beginning of the race but was never again at the front of the field, and with damage to his underwing, he knew he couldn’t go all out for the victory, and ultimately fell 1.6472 seconds short, finishing down in fifth.

“It was a survival race as you can see,” said Kanaan. “A lot of cars were either involved in a crash or had a mechanical failure.

“I knew it was going to be a shootout in the end. That’s really all we had in the No. 10 NTT Data Honda. I actually ran over debris at some point during the race and the underwing of the car was broken, so I knew toward the end that I didn’t have as good of a car as I did at the beginning of the race.”

Kanaan, winner of the Indianapolis 500 back in 2013, admitted he was pleased to see a new name take victory in 2017, and believes Takuma Sato’s triumph will further increase his popularity, especially in his homeland of Japan.

“I have to say though that I love to see first-time winners here at the Indianapolis 500 and this guy (Takuma Sato) was huge in Japan already so I can’t even imagine now,” said Kanaan.