Tony Kanaan, Alexander Rossi both set back by late Road America shunt

Photo: Chris Owens/INDYCAR

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

For the second-straight race, Tony Kanaan and Alexander Rossi came together.

This time, it was the veteran that got the worst of it.

Kanaan and Rossi were battling for position inside of the top 10 during the final 10 laps of Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America when a fierce battle and contact between the two led to a hard hit into the Turn 11 wall for Kanaan.

The shunt between the two Indianapolis 500 champions ended Kanaan’s day. The Brazilian finished 21st, the only driver to fail to make the 55-lap race’s end.

Kanaan was slow to emerge from his No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda after the hit – which came against a concrete wall. He later mentioned wrist discomfort, but not before placing blame for the incident with Rossi.

“It hasn’t been our weekend here at Road America for sure,” Kanaan said. “We were working our way back up and we thought we had a good chance at getting a top-10 finish, but then he (Alexander Rossi) blocked me and put me in the wall. I don’t think it was a nice move at all, but I’m not going to waste my time with it.

“My wrist is a little sore, but I’m OK overall. That was a big hit. Congrats to Scott (Dixon) and the No. 9 car. They were fast all weekend.”

With minimal damage, Rossi continued on. However, what once appear to be an inevitable top 10 turned into a 13th-place result after the Verizon IndyCar Series sophomore sailed his No. 98 Honda off-course in Turn 12 during the race’s final run.

After looking like the strongest contender to beat the Team Penske quartet earlier in the weekend – a feat that was ultimately accomplished by race winner Scott Dixon – the Californian was left trying to make sense of his whirlwind weekend.

“We had a really strong race car. We could’ve been fighting for a top-five finish this afternoon,” Rossi said. “I think we started with a good strategy, going for a four-stop race after starting 15th, but it all caught up to us on that first yellow. Luckily, we had already gained track position and speed running on open track.

“We had an issue with our front wing, which ironically or not, is the same issue we finished the race with here last year, so we definitely need to figure out exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The incident wasn’t the first run-in for Rossi and Kanaan. The two Honda drivers have had a handful of noteworthy battles over the past two seasons, including Kanaan’s involvement in Rossi’s crash in the tour’s prior race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Whether their recent run-ins are just coincidence or a sign of things to come remains to be seen.

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