INDIANAPOLIS – Tony Kanaan was locked into first place when a crash brought out the yellowcaution just past the midpoint of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. Five laps later, he headed back tohis garage for a nervous wait after rain halted the race.
The rain lasted 45 minutes, then the Speedway’s fleet of service vehicles began circling the2.5-mile track in hopes of drying it in time for a 6:30 p.m. EDT restart – the deadline set by theIndy Racing League.
If not, the race would be considered official, because at least 101 of 200 scheduled laps hadbeen run. Drivers had completed 113 laps when officials stopped the race.
Kanaan, who settled for second place in 2004 when rain gave Buddy Rice the victory 20 laps shortof the finish, was hoping for another rainout, which would give him his first win in six starts atIndianapolis.
“We want to win this thing,” he said. “We have the car to do it, no matter what. So if it driesout, we’re ready to go. If it doesn’t, we’re ready to take it.”
Kanaan’s car owner, Michael Andretti, however, was hoping for a restart. He led the race brieflybut dropped to 18th after an ill-timed pit stop just before the rain.
“If it goes back green, I’d have a chance to win this race,” Andretti said. “But 1-2-3 would benice, too.”
Andretti Green Racing teammates held the top three spots and four of the top five when the rainhit.
Michael’s son, Marco, the runner-up to Sam Hornish Jr. last year, was running second, andteammates Danica Patrick and Dario Franchitti were third and fifth, respectively. Vitor Meira was infourth place.
Helio Castroneves, Hornish’s teammate and this year’s pole-winner, dueled Kanaan for the leadearly in the race but fell to 29th after he had trouble taking on fuel during a pit stop. He workedhis way back up to sixth before the rain.
“We’re back in the game,” Castroneves said. “Right now, I’m not praying for rain, I’m praying fordry. Right now, it’s just a matter of putting ourselves in position, where we are right now. Westill have a lot of work, a lot of pit stops.”
Marco Andretti took the lead under caution during a round of pit stops, but Kanaan passed him onthe restart to take the lead when a crash by rookie Phil Giebler brought out the yellow on the nextlap. The race continued under caution the next five laps and was red-flagged to a stop after the113th lap – 282.5 miles – when the rain hit.
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