Tony Kanaan told us on Monday that they didn’t think that his AJ Foyt Racing team was ready to compete for the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series championship yet. He was brutally honest. But, that was never the early expectation when he was hired on to drive the famed No. 14 Chevrolet for the organization anyways.
The teams last win came back in 2013 at Long Beach. They’ve annually been one of the bottom teams in the series. Foyt needed to make some wholesale changes and one of them was a veteran presence was needed in the driver lineup.
After switching manufacturers in 2017, bringing in a new engineering department that same year too, all that was missing was a voice to get them on the right track.
In came Kanaan.
The goal is to leave them in a better place than when he came in. After turning in some momentum in 2018, this upcoming season is all about the continued growth.
So, when you look at Kanaan only turning in 24th fastest lap out of 25 drivers in the two-day COTA test this week, you may signal some warning sirens. But, if you take a deeper look, don’t.
See, Kanaan was limited to just a handful of laps on Tuesday. They dealt with electrical gremlins which hindered their on track time. On Wednesday, they were never going for all out speed with Kanaan.
He was trying out different setups. After all, that’s what days like Tuesday and Wednesday are for. Every team has a different agenda. The goal is to leave COTA with more information than you came to Austin with. If you can test out a bunch of different setups and get a good direction, then mission accomplished.
Kanaan, only completed 56 laps all week. No driver turned less around the 3.41-mile road course. That was 19 laps fewer than the next closest at that. The reason for that was for all the time lost on Tuesday and for how much time his car spent in the garage on Wednesday changing out setups.
The timing charts may show that this wasn’t a good week but if their computers are stacked full of information, then I beg to differ.