Tony Kanaan: Yellow finish 'tradition'
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan is conflicted over green-white-checkered flag finishes.
Kanaan won his first Indy 500 under caution Sunday in an anticlimactic ending to a thrilling race. There were a record 68 lead changes, with the last one coming when Kanaan slid around Ryan Hunter-Reay on a restart with three laps remaining.
Moments later, Dario Franchitti's crash brought out the caution and the race ended with Kanaan following the pace car around Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the final two laps of the 500-mile race.
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Although NASCAR makes three attempts to finish a race under green even if means going beyond the scheduled distance, the IndyCar Series does not. NASCAR fans and even some commentators immediately took to Twitter to decry the muted ending.
Kanaan said Monday green-white-checkered finishes should be considered but acknowledged it would be tough to do in the Indianapolis 500.
"I'm all about the tradition in this place. That was never done here," Kanaan said. "I'm not saying that because I won under yellow, because I lost plenty of them under yellow, as well. Especially in a place like this, I think you want to see a finish under green. At the end of the day it's a race, it's the rules. People have different opinions."
IndyCar took the unusual step of red-flagging last year's season-finale at Fontana to clean up an accident and allow the race to finish under green. Although it made for a better ending to the race, the move was unprecedented and purist race fans panned the decision.
The red-flag at Fontana helped Hunter-Reay clinch his first series championship, but like Kanaan he didn't know if a green-white-checkered at Indy was appropriate. After Kanaan got around him on the restart, Hunter-Reay slipped to third before the caution and didn't get a chance to race for the win.
Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan speaks to the media after a special luncheon at Texas Motor Speedway.
"This is Indy, there's a certain way things are done," Hunter-Reay said. "If tradition is tradition, you don't materialize results. We don't try to produce results out of green-white-checkereds. It can be a bit gimmicky."
Hunter-Reay also said IndyCar has fuel mileage concerns that would make the overtime finishes more difficult than NASCAR races.
"Where the green-white-checkered gets a little bit dicey is that you have some cars that gamble on maybe a yellow at the end for fuel, and some cars that don't," he said, adding Franchitti's accident was going to take at least three laps to clean.
"Some cars might not have had enough fuel to finish. We would have had fuel for it. If you can talk them into rolling us back out there, I'd be all for that."
Kanaan's victory was the first for manufacturer Chevrolet since 2002, but U.S. vice president of performance vehicle and motorsports Jim Campbell said he wouldn't have wanted the race to go into overtime. Chevrolet also participates in NASCAR, and Campbell is used to both methods.
"I totally believe in the tradition of the Indianapolis 500 and the rules of the Indianapolis 500, and I respect that, just as I respect the rules of NASCAR," Campbell said. "Series have rules and we all play by the same rules."
Winning car co-owner Jimmy Vasser said teams would adapt to whatever IndyCar decides.
"The rules have been changed in the past, and if they wanted to change to that, we would play by those rules," Vasser said. "But it is more difficult for IndyCar with the amount of fuel we have in the cars and the small fuel cells and the mileage we get. To go green-white-checkered -- when do you stop? One attempt? Two attempt? Three attempts? Somebody is going to run out of fuel."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
97TH INDIANAPOLIS 500-MILE RACE
The 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled May 26 with coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET (ABC). The venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway is ready for another thriller as a great tradition enters its 102nd year.
Sunday• Racing Live! Indy 500
• Hinton: This time, Kanaan good enough
• Oreovicz: Andretti comes up short ... again
• Video: Full highlights and analysis
• Video: Winner on SportsCenter
• Video: Dario kart
• Kimball cleared to race after illness
Saturday• Hinton: Want a feel-good story?
• Stats & Info blog: Winning on Sunday
• Video: Preparing for the Indy 500
• Video: The Andretti curse at Indy
• Video: Speed and danger
• Video: Sato has Foyt back in contention
• Ailing Kimball misses driver's meeting
• Security tightened after Boston attack
• Insider: Betting the Indy 500
Features• Hinton: Foyt is back as a threat in the 500
• Oreovicz live blog from Carb Day
• Newton: Could a NASCAR star compete?
• Oreovicz: Indy 500 rookies could surprise
• Petry: Full speed ahead for Fisher
• Oreovicz: Night out with legends • Oreovicz: No Bump Day drama • John Oreovicz live blog from Pole Day
• Oreovicz: Turbo boost, speeds, are up
• Oreovicz: Need for more speed?
• Oreovicz: The drive for four
• Oreovicz: Hang on to your hats, folks
News & Notes• Record-tying four women in 500 field
• Jim Harbaugh to drive Indy 500 pace car
• Driver/owner Carpenter wins 500 pole | Grid
• Full 33-car field assured for Indy 500
• Legge gets ride with Schmidt, is 34th entry
• Viso flirts with 230 mph on Fast Friday
• Rookie Munoz paces Thursday practice
• Rookie Daly wrecks car at Indy 500 practice
• Fewer seats at Indy 500, but not fewer fans
• Franchitti tops speed chart Wednesday
• Andretti runs fastest on Tuesday
• IndyCar hires Walker as competition chief
• Carpenter posts fastest lap Monday
• 1996 champion Lazier enters Indy 500 field
Video• Czarniak's ride of a lifetime with Mario
• AJ Allmendinger geared up for Indy
• Ed Carpenter wins Indy 500 pole
• Marco Andretti third fastest on Pole Day
• Getting ready for Indy
• The Greatest Spectacle In Racing
Chats• Ed Carpenter chat wrap
• John Oreovicz chat wrap
• Oreovicz Fast Friday chat wrap
Indy 500 Rewind• 2012 Flashback: Franchitti simply flawless
• 2011 Flashback: Wheldon's Cinderella story
• 2010 Flashback: Dario's all the way back
• 2009 Flashback: Castroneves wins again
• 2008 Flashback: Quiet Dixon makes noise • 2007 Flashback: Franchitti comes up big
• 2006 Flashback: Hornish gets his "Holy Grail"