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View Count: 128 |  Publish Date: July 05, 2013
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Kanaan alive for a revived Indy car triple crown at Pocono
Mike Still, Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013, 3:01 AM
Tony Kanaan had to have known this particular question was coming.
As the only driver in Sundays Pocono IndyCar 400 eligible to win the Fuzzys Triple Crown - a challenge comprised of three races on oval tracks sponsored by Fuzzys throughout the IZOD IndyCar Series season - Kanaan is also the sole driver capable of taking home the $1 million bonus for winning each of the three races.
Why dont we say what it would mean to win the Triple Crown? Why do we need to say a million dollars? Kanaan joked when asked about the potential cash prize after Thursdays practice session at Pocono Raceway. A million dollars is always welcome, I have to say.
The Pocono IndyCar 400 is the second leg of the Fuzzys Triple Crown. Kanaan won the Indianapolis 500 - the triple crowns first race - in May, and the challenge concludes with the MAVTV 500 on Oct. 19 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
If any driver wins two of those races, hell receive a $250,000 bonus.
Sundays race at Pocono marks the first time the track will host an open-wheel race since 1989. Indy car racing previously had a triple crown of 500-mile races from 1971 to 1989, comprised of the Indianapolis 500, Pocono 500, and California 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway, in its first nine years.
Ontario closed in 1980 and was replaced by Michigan International Speedway, but Poconos dropping off the CART-sanctioned Indy car schedule after the 1989 season ended the triple crowns run.
During that triple crowns existence, only one driver won all three races in a season: Al Unser in 1978, winning his third of four Indy 500 titles along the way.
You think of all the years it ran and how few guys - how few guys - had a chance to go for it; its not an easy task, said Brandon Igdalsky, president and CEO of Pocono Raceway. Especially now with how the competition is nowadays, where anybody can really win any weekend.
Kanaan got off to solid start on Thursday, trailing only Marco Andretti for the fastest time in practice sessions.
Last week, Kanaan arrived at Pocono Raceway for a practice to test the track. The Brazilian said he took his rental car out for a few laps around the three-turn oval dubbed the Tricky Triangle and felt confident in tackling a track hed yet to race on.
It wasnt until Kanaan got behind the wheel of his Indy car that he realized the challenges the track offers.
It took me a little while to learn the track, he said. They dont call it the Tricky Triangle for nothing.
Each of Pocono Raceways turns is modeled after turns from a different racetrack. Turn 2, for example, has characteristics of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, utilizing a nine-degree banking.
There are varying degrees of banking for each turn, which requires drivers to best prepare their cars for just one of those turns.
You have to choose to have a car good in one of the corners and have to put up with the rest, Kanaan said. Thats what were dealing with.
Pocono will also mark the 207th consecutive start of Kanaans career, putting him within four of Jimmy Vassers Indy car record.
But Kanaan views money he hasnt won yet and records yet to be broken in a similar light.
Anything can happen, he said. Lets not get too excited.
Contact Mike Still at mstill@philly.com.Mike StillInquirer Staff Writer #post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-reddit {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 60px !important;height: 20px !important;margin-right:8px;}#post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-email {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 71px !important;height: 28px !important;}0comments

Time: 1:3  |  News Code: 295197  |  Site: philly.com
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