Sunday, August 15, 2004

Kanaan, Rice bring rivalry to Speedway

By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer

SPARTA, Ky. - Tony Kanaan (above) doesn't mind starting second to Buddy Rice today in the Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Belterra Casino Indy 300
10:30 a.m.: Gates open.
3:45 p.m.: Race begins (Ch. 9, 2, 3:30 p.m.).
Tickets: $40-$70. Available at,
at the gate or by calling 888-652-RACE.

1. (15) Buddy Rice, Panoz G Force-Honda, 216.016 mph
2. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 215.731.
3. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Toyota, 215.592.
4. (5) Adrian Fernandez, Panoz G Force-Honda, 215.326.
5. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 215.181.
6. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Toyota, 215.029.
7. (17) Vitor Meira, Panoz G Force-Honda, 214.724.
8. (10) Darren Manning, Panoz G Force-Toyota, 214.697.
9. (1) Scott Dixon, Panoz G Force-Toyota, 214.647.
10. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Panoz G Force-Honda, 214.327.
11. (26) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 214.275.
12. (13) Mark Taylor, Panoz G Force-Honda, 213.878.
13. (4) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 213.091.
14. (52) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 212.976.
15. (14) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Toyota, 212.937.
16. (8) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Toyota, 212.433.
17. (51) Alex Barron, Dallara-Chevrolet, 212.051.
18. (24) Felipe Giaffone, Dallara-Chevrolet, 212.032.
19. (20) Jaques Lazier, Dallara-Chevrolet, 211.968.
20. (12) Tora Takagi, Dallara-Toyota, 211.068.
21. (7) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, no speed.
22. (2) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Chevrolet, no speed.
The way Kanaan sees it, if they can finish the race the same way they start, Kanaan would lose only a handful of points to Rice in the Indy Racing League points standings, which would keep Kanaan on track for a season-ending points championship.

The two drivers are the clear front-runners for the points title, Kanaan leading with 400 points and Rice in second with 343 and six races left on the schedule.

"We both want to win," Kanaan said. "But if you look at it, he's chasing, and I'm there. ... Right now, he needs to catch up. I need to just keep doing what I'm doing."

Rice won his fifth pole position of the season Saturday by turning in a 216.016 mph speed. Kanaan will start outside of Rice after qualifying at 215.731 mph.

Since Rice won the Indianapolis 500 May 30 with Kanaan second, the IRL season largely has focused on the two drivers. Kanaan has led the points standings, but Rice has earned the most prize money.

They each have three wins, and two weeks ago in Michigan, Rice overtook Kanaan with 10 laps to go before holding off his rival by .0796 seconds at the finish line.

Afterward, Kanaan said he was upset with the result, but he clarified his statements Saturday.

"We have a healthy fight going on," Kanaan said. "Some people try to put words in my mouth and say I was mad after the race with (Rice). I wasn't mad at him, I was mad at myself."

While the rest of the league tries to catch up to Kanaan and Rice, the two are more than content to keep the points chase between them.

"It's good for the IRL," Rice said. "This whole series thrives on close racing and close fights, and that's what's happening right now."

Buddy Rice, who captured the pole for the Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway with a qualifying speed of 216.016, talks with his crew after qualifying.
(Enquirer photo/PATRICK REDDY)
Kanaan figured to be the favorite at the start of qualifying after he had the fastest car in practice. But Rice picked up the mini-victory when he grabbed the pole position as the third car of the day to qualify. He had to wait about an hour, however, before Kanaan took the track as the third-to-last qualifier.

Rice doesn't gain any points on Kanaan for winning the pole, but seeing the two of them starting next to each other confirms they are the IRL's most consistent drivers.

Kanaan's success every race is Rice's biggest obstacle to moving up.

"I enjoy the points battle for sure," Rice said. "This is what it's all about. It's what you come here to do."

Kanaan expects a heated competition for the lead from the start.

"He's an aggressive driver, but he's fair," Kanaan said. "He's clean. ... We run wheel to wheel almost every weekend, so I don't think we'll have a problem."



Phelps debut good as gold
Daugherty: Phelps takes gold, celebrates, plans for more
Daugherty: Nothing ordinary about her
Minus Americans, baseball loses luster
Olympics Special Section

Monday's game day for Bengals
Like father, like son
Quicker releases, shorter dropbacks counter sackers
Tomlinson signs richest RB deal
Saturday games roundup: Brown shines for post-George Titans

Fireworks again light up sky
Photos of Saturday's game
Pitching staff undergoes a reshuffling
Reds insider: Will the budget budge?
Lopez learns from trips between Triple-A, Reds
Reds chatter
Around the majors: Look who's contending
Add an aching Thome to Phillies' woes
NL: Wood a force in Cubs' victory
AL: Streaking Indians game out of first

Americans drawn to tennis event
Women's tournament events organized under tier system
History: Women's tennis in Cincinnati
Tournament gives local players a tougher level of competition

Kanaan, Rice bring rivalry to Speedway
Chesson overtakes first-timer Gregg
Johnson's goal is for clean start
Bourdais breaks track record, captures pole

USC talks a cool game
Sanders, Theismann, Green enshrined in college hall

Singh finally shakes Leonard for PGA lead
Mickelson shoots 5-under 67 to become major threat again

He's securing the future for youth baseball
What's up with that?

Sports digest
Sports this weekend on TV, radio

What should the Reds do with Ken Griffey Jr.?