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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Kanaan is finally proving his worth
By BRANT JAMES
Published May 17, 2005
Tony Kanaan isn't so sure he would have hired himself if he had been in Michael Andretti 's position three years ago. He didn't stand out, he admits, after five seasons in CART.
But after winning the Indy Racing League driver championship last season and on Sunday securing the pole for the May 29 Indianapolis 500, the 29-year Brazilian thinks he has proved a sound investment for the co-owner of Andretti Green Racing.
"When I got hired by this team, I think they had a lot of trust in me," Kanaan said after posting a four-lap average speed of 227.566 mph around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a Dallara/Honda. "I hadn't come with good results in my career up until that point. I mean, I wasn't that impressed. The best thing I could have done for them, it was what we've been doing."
H Defending Champ Car series champion Sebastien Bourdais , a St. Petersburg resident, had the 15th-fastest four-lap average (224.955) in a Panoz/Honda. IRL points leader Dan Wheldon , another area resident, was 16th at 224.308 in a Dallara/Honda. The next qualifying session is Saturday, when where spots 23-33 will be determined.
Team owner Greg Beck will hire Arie Luyendyk Jr. , son of the two-time Indy 500 champion, as his driver and hoped to have him in the car to qualify this weekend. The 23-year-old Luyendyk finished in the top 10 in the Infiniti Pro series 10 times last season and was third in points.
LONGEVITY: Ford gathered a manufacturers' point in a record 50th straight World Rally Championship event on Sunday when Focus-driving Toni Gardemeister and Roman Kresta finished fifth and sixth, respectively, at Cyprus. Ford was the only builder to have both cars finish without retiring or incurring a penalty.
Peugeot leads the WRC manufacturers standings with 62 points, followed by Citroen (53) and Ford (44).
STEPPING UP: Newman Haas Racing's Bruno Junqueira could become the eighth driver - joining legends Jimmy Bryan , Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt - to record eight consecutive top-three finishes if he reaches the podium Sunday in Champ Car's Monterrey Grand Prix at Fundidora Park. Al Unser Sr. holds the record for consecutive podium finishes with 11.
UNHAPPY NIGHT: Zephyrhills native David Reutimann finished 21st on Sunday in the NASCAR Truck series race at Mansfield, Ohio. Reutimann has finished 21st or worse in four straight races and has not cracked the top 10 in six events. He is 18th in driver points.
STEP DOWN: Mike Ford has resigned as Dale Jarrett 's Nextel Cup crew chief, citing family reasons, according to Robert Yates Racing general manager Eddie D'Hondt . Ford, who had been with RYR since 2003, will be replaced in-house on an interim basis. Jarrett is 14th in driver points, 298 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson after finishing 34th at Richmond Saturday.
IT'S AT LOWE'S: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000) was the first rookie to win the NASCAR all-star race. Ryan Newman became the second in 2002. The event, open to those who have won Nextel Cup races in 2004 and 2005 (and other criteria) is scheduled for Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Track president Humpy Wheeler picked Jeff Gordon to win the race during his annual selection ceremony. ... Busch series points leader and Nextel Cup race winner Carl Edwards will compete in a big-block modified race May 25 at the Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Edwards, 25, will drive as a teammate of former DIRT modified champion Brett Hearn .
SPARK PLUGS: Bourdais and team co-owner Paul Newman tested a non-wing sprint car at Perris Auto Speedway in California the weekend of the season-opening Grand Prix of Long Beach. ... Penske Performance Inc., majority shareholder of Penske Racing South, said it has bought out Rusty Wallace , Don Miller and John Erickson . The team fields cars for Wallace, Newman and rookie Travis Kvapil .
--Information from other news organizations was used in the report.