The IndyCar season is seven races old, and Tony Kanaan has not won with his new team at Chip Ganassi Racing.
But that is nothing to fret about for the veteran Brazilian driver.
Four times in his career, he has gone winless until the eighth race or later, including in 2005, when he wound up second in the championship point standings, and 2008, when he was third.
“It’s early. I’ve been in this position before,” he said Thursday at Roanoke Elementary, where he and other IndyCar Series drivers helped the school’s students celebrate their reading accomplishments. “Anything can change. In two days, it could change.”
In 2010, Kanaan’s first win came in the eighth race. In 2008 and ’06, it was the 10th. In ’05, it was the eighth.
Saturday night’s Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway is race No. 8 of the season.
“I can’t say I’m satisfied,” Kanaan said. “Obviously, it’s been very competitive. We haven’t won a race yet. I expected, if you had asked me at the beginning of the year, by this point we would have. It is what it is. You got to keep working. I’m happy with Target Chip Ganassi. I think we have a great team. We just got to work on it.”
Kanaan has gotten off to fast starts, also. In his championship year of 2004, he won in the second, fifth (at TMS) and eighth races.
Ed Carpenter said he’s moved on from his displeasure with James Hinchcliffe at the Indy 500, but agrees he might have gained new fans with his impassioned reaction on the track to the mistake.
“Some people probably liked it. Some people probably didn’t like it,” he said. “I was first checking to make sure he was OK. A lot of people didn’t realize that’s what I was doing. And after that, I was genuinely mad. We both had cars capable of winning the race and a silly decision took us both out of it.”
Carpenter was the pole sitter at Indy for the second year in a row and, unlike 2013, he was in the running for the win two weeks ago until the contact with 25 laps to go knocked him and two other drivers out.
“It’s not like he was trying to take me out or himself out. It was a poor decision,” Carpenter said. “That was my message to him: you’re not a rookie, you’ve been around this, you shouldn’t make decisions like that at that point in the race. But I move on. We have to race too close to one another and respect one another too much to carry grudges.”
Jeb Burton can look back on his rookie full-time year in the Camping World Truck series as a success, but there is one thing that bothers him.
“I should have won a lot more,” he said. “At least I got that one.”
“That one” was at Texas Motor Speedway last June, when he picked up his first career victory, driving the No. 4 truck for Turner Motorsports. He had 11 top-10s, seven poles and finished fifth in the standings.
“I thought we had a pretty good year. I thought we were going to have an even better year,” he said.
This year, Burton is driving the No. 13 for ThorSport Racing and sits ninth in points as he looks to defend his WinStar World Casino 400 championship.
Johnny Sauter said he is never far from a reminder of his 2012 truck series sweep at TMS.
“My little boy likes to wear the cowboy hats all the time,” he said. “One day it’s the black one, one day it’s the white one. He keeps the trophies in his room, so I have to look at them every day.”
TMS awards a white hat to the winner of its spring and summer races and a black hat to the November winners.
“When you win a race and you come back in the fall, it puts a little extra pep in your step,” he said.
“Along with that, it puts a little extra pressure on you. I think about it a lot. But I know it’s also 2014 and that was in the past.”
The IndyCar teams have the option to add 300 pounds of downforce from last year at TMS.
The more downforce, the more the car is pinned to the track and the less the tires wear out. But, the more drag that slows the car.
The series said that option will get the cars closer to the package used at TMS in 2012 that resulted in rave reviews from the drivers. The drivers and Firestone came up with the idea for the option following a test at TMS in April.