0

Kanaan is ready to win first Indy 500

AP Auto Racing Writer

INDIANAPOLIS - Tony Kanaan can't be bothered with the past. He just wants another shot at winning the Indianapolis 500.

''I don't want to waste my time thinking what can go wrong,'' Kanaan said Friday after leading the traditional one-hour ''Carburetion Day'' practice with a fast lap of 225.467 mph. ''I'd rather think about what I can do to have the best race I can have.''

Kanaan will start between pole-winner and countryman Helio Castroneves and Andretti Green Racing teammate Dario Franchitti in the front row today, and he's considered by many the best of at least 11 top contenders in the 91st edition of the 500.

''You have to just try to be there at the end,'' the former IndyCar Series champion said. ''We have a good car, but it's a long race.

''Winning might happen, or it might not happen. That won't be the end of my life. If it happens, fine. If it doesn't happen, how many drivers can say they almost won this race?''

That includes Kanaan, who after crashing out in 2002, finished second in 2004 and third in 2003. He added finishes of eighth and fifth the last two years.

''Really, the only near miss I had was in 2002, though, when I was in the lead and gone, and I spun in (Bruno) Junqueira's oil when they didn't throw the yellow fast enough,'' said Kanaan, making his sixth start on the 2.5-mile Brickyard oval.

''The other ones, I was in position and I had a bad stop and they didn't, or I went through traffic a little slower than they did. That's just facts. You can't blame anybody.

''You try to learn, but there's so many things that are not under your control that it doesn't matter.''

Two-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves said he believes his old friend will finally get that big victory soon.

''I always want to beat him, and, if I don't win, I want my teammate to win,'' said Castroneves, referring to Sam Hornish Jr., who gave Team Penske and owner Roger Penske his record 14th Indy win last May. ''But, I want Tony to win, too. He deserves it, and he's probably going to be one of the drivers who will be there at the finish.

''There are drivers here at Indianapolis who just don't seem to get the luck, like Michael Andretti. But you never know when it will be your day, and you have to just keep making your chances.''

All 33 starters made it onto the track Friday, with Franchitti a distant second to Kanaan on the speed chart at 223.807, followed by Andretti at 223.575 and Castroneves at 223.527. Hornish was seventh.