PORTLAND, Ore. -- A young Tony Kanaan didn’t have an inkling of the historical significance of his start at Portland International Raceway on June 24, 2001 while competing for Mo Nunn racing in just his fourth CART season.
Kanaan had sustained a concussion, broken arm, and broken ribs during the Belle Isle race weekend and was forced to miss that race in Detroit. He returned to action the following week here in Portland and it was by no means a memorable race. He crashed out after one lap and finished 24th.
However, that race began his run for Indy car’s all-time record for consecutive starts. Kanaan, who drives the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet for A.J. Foyt Racing, holds the record with 315 consecutive starts and will be looking to extend the “Ironman” streak to 316 in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland.
“When you think about it, you know, 315 races in a row, it’s pretty amazing,” Kanaan said. “I remember very well that day in Detroit … It was the biggest accident of my career. Broken arm, broken ribs, a concussion … I wasn’t sure how to deal with it.
“It was my fourth year in INDYCAR and thinking someone else would be driving my race car was quite frightening, to be honest. I had never experienced something like that and since then having the career that I’ve had.
“It’s been an awesome journey! Sometimes I still can’t believe that I made it this far and I’m still going. Portland brings good memories. The current streak started there and as a driver you never think about these kind of things but once you achieve them you look back and think ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool.’
“I’m extremely humbled by it.”
Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda) is second on the sport’s all-time list with 256 consecutive starts.
The NTT IndyCar Series heads to Portland, Ore., for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland. Live race coverage on NBC begins at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT local) with the green flag at approximately 3:45 p.m. Live radio broadcasts will be available on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM 205, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970).