Thankfully, one less push-up, Tony Kanaan notes, will be required if he wins the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 24.
Kanaan won the inaugural Verizon IndyCar Series race at the California road course in 2005 in the No. 11 car and marked the occasion by completing an impromptu 11 push-ups in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle. This year, the 2004 series champion is driving the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry.
“It was early days that road and street courses were in the series and that track was so physical that I joked around with some friends that if I win this thing I’m still going to do push-ups at the end of the race,” said Kanaan, now 39 years old. “That’s the way it turned out. It was awesome and fun.”
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The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma is the 10th race under INDYCAR sanction at Sonoma Raceway. USAC sanction an Indy car race in 1970 won by Dan Gurney.
Kanaan is among six previous winners at Sonoma Raceway entered in the 85-lap race on the 12-turn, 2.385-mile track. Will Power of Team Penske, who enters the penultimate race of the season with a 39-point championship lead over teammate Helio Castroneves, won in 2010, ‘11 and ’13. Castroneves won in 2008, while the 2006 race marked Marco Andretti’s first Verizon IndyCar Series victory. Scott Dixon (2007) and Ryan Briscoe (20012) also are entered.
“It’s a great place to go and since 2005 we’ve been getting great support from the fans and all the sponsors,” said Kanaan, who took the lead for good in that 80-lap race Aug. 28 on Lap 52 and won by 1.18 seconds over 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice.
Kanaan is coming off a third-place finish in the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest on Aug. 17 and has recorded four podium finishes in the past five races. In addition to the '05 victory after qualifying third at Sonoma, Kanaan has five other top-10 finishes in the nine races.