Kanaan and the Triple Crown

All eyes will be asphyxiated on Tony Kanaan and his beautiful mug Sunday at Pocono. Kanaan will be attempting to capture the second leg of the newly reinstated Triple Crown sponsored by Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka. The Triple Crown and Pocono both return after an absence since 1989. The Tricky Triangle, as it is nicknamed, is a unique three turned track that is 2.5 miles in length.

Tony Kanaan is the only driver eligible to win the Triple Crown after taking the checkers at the first of the three stages of the feat at Indianapolis. Winning all three events gets you a right-to-the-bank-straight-cash-homey $1 million bonus. But hey, if Tony wins one of the remaining two events at Pocono this weekend or the season finale at Fontana, Tony "only" gets $250,000. I mean, that's not a lot. Add that to his near $2 million bonus he got at Indy, and you get a potentially giant payday for TK.

Pagenaud IndyCar Pocono
Simon Pagenaud crossing S/F at a test at Pocono (Photo: Keith Stevenson / AP)

The Triple Crown began in 1971 with 500 mile races at Ontario Motor Speedway (California), Pocono Speedway, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Michigan International Speedway replaced Ontario in 1980, and the three events stood strong until the Triple Crown ceased in 1989. Al Unser was the only driver to ever win the Triple Crown, doing so in 1978 for owner Jim Hall.

Testing has gone on at Pocono, with two sessions for drivers to get up to speed with the track. The only two teams to have not tested there are Bryan Herta Autosport and Dale Coyne Racing. All things point to a guarantee that the track record at Pocono will be repeatedly shattered. The current track record has been set by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989 at a speed of 211.715 MPH. Many drivers eclipsed the 217-218 MPH mark in the most recent of tests.

As stated above, Pocono will host an Indycar race for the first time since 1989. A three wide rolling start is scheduled for the event, which will surely make for a thrilling beginning of the race. I think a lot of people will be cheering for Kanaan; I know I will. Can Kanaan capture the race at Pocono, setting up a thrilling season finale in which we will all have to wait four months to see?! Time will tell.

Let me know what you think.

-Matthew Hickey