Although he was obviously disappointed to lose out to Marco Andretti for the win in Iowa, Tony Kanaan was enthusiastic about his battle with his former Andretti Autosport teammate en route to a second-place finish in his KV Racing Technology entry.
"It was a great race. I don't think we quite had the car [for the win]," Kanaan said. "I chose to start with a lot of downforce and felt that we had a top-three car. I kind of sat back the whole race, just watched Dario [Franchitti]. Dario was really strong, let a couple people by and just sat there, and I said, 'We'll wait until it's time to go,' and it was time to go, and all of a sudden I got a great start and get behind Marco and then we're racing.
"It was pretty fun. Seven laps to go, he protected himself pretty good. That's part of racing. It's for the win, so it's all good. I would have done the same, I think. It was quite a battle there. If I hadn't lifted I think we were both going to end up in the wall.
"Great race. I'm happy for him. If anybody had a doubt that he could win a race, if they watched the race today, he won it fair and square. I think he deserved it and he had a good car. He was strong all night long."
When pressed on the point, Kanaan admitted Andretti's driving went to the edge of blocking, but the Brazilian said it was understandable in the circumstances
"It's not that I'm not happy, it's just ‑‑ yeah, well, obviously we ran the low line the whole time. The lower line was quicker, and I set him up," Kanaan related. "He came out of 4 a little high, and I came to the bottom. You can't say it's a block because he gave me space for a car, but coming into Turn 1 that tight all the way on the white line, there was no way I was going to turn. I was going to actually start to wash up a little bit. And what he did, he just stayed there; he didn't give me any space, so I had to lift.
"Like I said, it's not a block. He did exactly what he needed to do to win the race. It was just ‑‑ I needed it to be at least one wheel ahead of him to be able to pull that off, and when I made the move, I didn't go further enough, and then I had to lift, and after that I knew the race was over. I was pretty happy with second place then.
Kanaan said that he thought Marco's victory would be as important for his team owner and father, Michael.
"I think it's a big relief for him, for Michael. I mean," Kanaan said. "Michael, obviously it's his son...he's been pushing pretty hard to have Marco to succeed, and he's giving Marco everything he can as far as equipment, team, personnel to make the kid successful, and it paid off today. Like I told him at the podium, hopefully it won't take another five years for you to win another one.
"You know, he's been driving great, and he got it. I think the kid proved that he can win. Now he did his second one. I told him, now it's just a matter of getting more."
Kanaan said that the Iowa event also demonstrated that his KV Racing team is ready to compete on a regular basis, having taken pole with Takuma Sato and then his own showing in the race.
"I think the team, if I remember right, when they first game to the series with Oriol [Servia] and Will [Power], they were pretty strong, then they had a couple hiccups and the past few years they're throwing equipment back and forth, which didn't help them at all.
"I think when we were able to put a deal together five days before the first race, with my experience, things that I know that I want from the car, together with what they already had, because it is the same car that we had four years ago, it was a great combination. It's Takuma's second year; he's not a rookie anymore. He's fast, he knows what he needs from the car, so we're just developing more and more confidence on the team.
"For me to be able to come in ‑‑ if you had asked me if I was going to be sitting fourth in the championship right now with two podiums missing every single winter test, I was going to say you guys are dreaming. So extremely pleased with the team."
Kanaan said he is pleased for both his current and his former team that they have been able to turn things around after disappointing seasons.
"I didn't feel I had to prove a point to anybody about the misfortune that happened in the off‑season with us and going away with no contract and not having a job," he said. "I'm just having a lot of fun, enjoying a lot of my time with the team. Now I probably realize it was time for a change, just for some reason it is different, for some reason I'm having more fun than I used to. I don't think I can get into details why, but I just think that it's different. It's a different atmosphere, and after a long time I think it was good for both parties.
"Look at their [Andretti's] team; they won two races this year already. We only won two races last year and they still have plenty of races to do. And look at me -- it's been a while that I've been top four in the championship. What it is, I don't know, but whatever we have, it's been pretty good!"