FORT WORTH, Texas – It’s been an emotional day for Tony Kanaan at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kanaan is returning to the race track and the NTT IndyCar Series for his final season, an all-oval schedule driving the No. 14 for A.J. Foyt Racing. Kanaan is back in his familiar 7-Eleven colors, reminiscent of his glory days that included the 2004 IndyCar Series championship at what was then Andretti Green Racing.
Kanaan is driving the famed No. 14 Chevrolet for A.J. Foyt Racing and will start 10th in Saturday night’s Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. He ran a two-lap average of 213.388 mph around the 1.5-mile oval.
“It’s been a hard day in many ways,” Kanaan said. “For things that is happening to the world right now, how sad people are and how we are trying to change the world in many ways. In one way, I’m glad we are here and will bring for joy to them tonight.
“For me, it’s my last lap. It’s hard to keep the emotions. I haven’t been in the car since Laguna Seca. Although it’s my 23rd season, those first few laps were weird. This uniform, 7-Eleven is back. I felt like Superman putting my cape on. Chevy gave me a great engine for qualifying.
“I guess the old man still has it and can’t wait for tonight.”
Kanaan will start his 318th consecutive IndyCar Series race Saturday night.
“It was extremely sad we couldn’t start the championship, but being selfish, I get to keep my consecutive streak of starts for one more,” Kanaan said. “Selfishly, I have to say, I wasn’t sad to start the season at Texas in June.”
Kanaan won at Texas Motor Speedway in his championship season in 2004.
Before Saturday’s practice as Kanaan sat in his car on pit lane, he radioed a special message to his team.
“I want to thank each one of you for the effort,” Kanaan said.
Scott Harner, A.J. Foyt Racing’s vice president of operations, radioed back, “Feelings mutual, TK.”