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INDYMarch 23, 2003
American IndyCar Series Round 2
Phoenix International Raceway

Pole-to-Win for Tony Kanaan
First Victory for Honda Indy V8 in IndyCar Series

Under a cloudless sky in the middle of the desert, pole-starter Tony Kanaan took this 200-mile race by a margin of just 0.9328 seconds. This was the first IndyCar Series win for Kanaan, the Andretti Green Racing team and the Honda Indy V8 engine.

The race developed into a tough battle on this one-mile short oval circuit, with seven cars crashing out and a total of ten yellow cautions causing confusion. When veteran Michael Andretti and Gil de Ferran made contact on Turn 1 of Lap 187 near the end of the race, both cars smashed into the concrete wall and a yellow caution was called. The race was restarted for the last time with less than three laps to go.

Leading at this point was Kanaan, who had not refueled since his pit stop on Lap 110. He had done well to pit earlier than the other drivers and move up to the lead. Helped by the superior fuel consumption of the Honda Indy V8 and the series of yellow cautions, he was able to hold onto his position. The 2001 and 2002 Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves was pulling out all the stops after the final restart, closing the gap to about 0.9 seconds at the finish line.

Female driver Sara Fisher timed her pit stop well, holding second place and chasing leader Kanaan for a while before finally taking the checkered flag in eighth place. 2001 and 2002 series champion Sam Hornish Jr. started 17th on the grid, and was steadily working his way up through the field when he made contact with a tail-ender and crashed out after only 30 laps.

Rookie Roger Yasugawa's team went with a strategy of not bringing him into the pit despite a second yellow caution early in the race. The Japanese driver took the lead on Lap 35 and, in an evenly matched front group, held onto second position until Lap 85. He lost position after his subsequent pit stop and, just as he was beginning to catch up again on Lap 100, he caught the car of Al Unser Jr. while trying to overtake on the outside and crashed. Despite being able to get out of his car by himself, Yasugawa was taken to hospital by the IRL medical staff for tests.

American IndyCar Series Round 2
Phoenix International Raceway

1 Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing)
2 Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Team Penske)
3 Felipe Giaffone (Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing)
4 Al Unser Jr. (Kelley Racing)
5 Kenny Brack (Team Rahal)
6 Jaques Lazier (Team Menard)
7 Scott Sharp (Kelley Racing)
8 Sarah Fisher (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing)
9 Buddy Rice (Red Bull Cheever Racing)
10 Shigeaki Hattori (A.J. Foyt Racing)
13 Michael Andretti (Andretti Green Racing)
16 Dario Franchitti (Andretti Green Racing)
17 Roger Yasukawa (Super Aguri Fernandez Racing)
Tony Kanaan
Tony Kanaan

Tony Kanaan (Center)
Tony Kanaan (Center)

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