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June 10, 2017

Tony Kanaan

Fort Worth, Texas

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our post-race press conference. We would like to welcome our second-place finisher Tony Kanaan from Chip Ganassi Racing. It was quite a night, wasn't it.

TONY KANAAN: I guess. I guess I don't have a lot of friends out there.

THE MODERATOR: You have friends everywhere. Just kind of take us through your evening, how the race shaped up for you and obviously there were a couple incidents.

TONY KANAAN: Yeah, obviously I haven't seen all of them. Apparently I got blamed for all of them, got a penalty, paid a penalty, and we finished second. So I guess it is what it is. It was a pack race, and I really expressed my feelings about that, but yeah, tough night. Very intense from first lap to the last lap. I'm glad it's over.

THE MODERATOR: Even with the penalty you were able to get back on the lead lap and you were up there battling for the lead at the end of the race.

TONY KANAAN: Yeah, that's what we do, man. We never give up, and obviously we got lucky with the competition yellows so we could get the two laps back and fought our way back. Intense race, a lot of things happened, had to avoid a lot of contact, as well, got really frustrated in the middle of the race and then towards the end. But I guess races like this, at one point in the race you're going to get mad at somebody, and eventually the entire field -- when you have 19 cars running half a second from each other, fighting for the same real estate, that's what happens.

THE MODERATOR: If you can just take us through the incident with James and Mikhail.

TONY KANAAN: Honestly, I didn't see it. There was a bump going into Turn 3 there, and I think -- I guess I moved up, and I really have to apologize to Hinch. I'm definitely going to go see him if he wants to see me or I'll call him. But yeah, and I guess it was a close call. I moved up, and we hit. I'm really -- it's sad. I don't do those kind of things. I race people clean, and I want people to race me clean. It was definitely an honest mistake. You never -- especially in a place like this, you don't crash people on purpose, and you don't do -- I've been around it way too long to do any silly things like that, and if I did, it was really a mistake, and I apologize for it. Obviously I had to pay that in the pits for the longest 20 seconds of my life.

Q. Obviously none of you guys had predicted it was going to turn out that kind of racing tonight; what's your feeling as far as whether we can go on having those kind of races here?
TONY KANAAN: I think it's pretty obvious we can't. I mean, what you have -- five cars finished the race, six cars? I mean, plus in our type of cars, we can't do that. That's my opinion. I mean, I know people will agree and people will disagree with me, but it was a new track. They did a great job -- this track, back in the days, with the rain that we got two days ago we probably wouldn't even be racing here today, so great job that they changed the layout and actually I thought it was going to be different. It was our first race back because of the construction we didn't really have a lot of time to test here. Yeah, man, this is my opinion. I don't think we should be doing this the way it is. We should be coming to Texas. The fans are great. This track is awesome. But I think we should change the format a little bit. How, I don't know, we've got to figure it out.

Q. Did you agree with the idea of competition yellows because some people were suffering from blisters, but I don't think you, Pagenaud, Power or Dixon were having those --
TONY KANAAN: We never did, but I have to say, at those kind of speeds, if somebody is getting a blister we can't afford to have a problem like that. Do I agree with that? I have to because it's putting everybody else's safety in check, right. It takes one guy to have a problem, and he will take five guys out, as we saw. Not for a tire problem, but...

So I think it was okay, but the thing is when you have a pack race, the longer you go green, the better it is. You keep bringing yellows back and you put the whole pack back together, and that was the problem. But I think the bigger issue was definitely the blistering, and we had to address that. I don't disagree.

Q. At what point in the race did it feel like it was going to become a pack race because early on it was strung out and a couple guys tried high and it didn't work. When did that second and third lane come in?
TONY KANAAN: Lap 6. I mean, Vautier passed everybody on the outside, I'm like, I was not expecting that. And then he started to clean it up there. So no, honestly, if you look at my pre-race interview, I'm like, no way. Oh, boy, I was wrong. So wrong. So no, right away, honestly, right away, maybe lap 10 I would say. Nobody is pulling away.

In the past, we had tire deg. With the new asphalt, we don't. The tires were so good that everybody was able to hang in there, and you started to clean the high lane, and that was it. I mean, we went three wide quite a few laps, and that's what caused some of the problems.

Q. You guys are pretty good about reading what a track is going to be like. For instance, at Phoenix you guys are always on target what the race is going to be like. How did so many drivers really kind of miss it tonight in terms of it not being what they expected?
TONY KANAAN: I don't know. I have to say, one guy was 100 percent right. I spoke to him last night, and it was Simon. Simon told me the second lane is going to work, and I said, if you make it work, you're going to win the race, and he almost did, and he was right. I don't know, honestly -- I talked to Dixon, we talked quite a bit. We were like, I don't think it's going to happen, man, I don't think it's going to happen. And it happened. So why, I don't know. I guess we make mistakes sometimes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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