Despite using a brilliant move to go from fifth to first with 15 laps left in the Indianapolis 500 and still leading with six laps to go, Kanaan watched helplessly as Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon zipped past him on the final restart and Takuma Sato blew past him a lap later.
He never got a chance to catch the leaders again and wound up third.
“I have this thing that I know whoever leads with 10 to go never wins,” Kanaan said afterward. “So I said, ‘I’ll let Dario go,’ and then, man, I’m leading this thing and I knew I was going to be a sitting duck again.”
It was yet another bitter ending in his frustrating Indy career.
In 10 previous races at the Brickyard, Kanaan started in the first two rows eight times and produced four top-five finishes before Sunday. Two years ago, after qualifying 33rd in a mangled car, Kanaan swept through the pack to finish 11th and at one point looked like he might become the first driver to win the race from the No. 33 spot.
MORE FRUSTRATION: Michael Andretti watched three of his cars dominate the first half of the Indianapolis 500. And by the end, they were no factor at all. Again.
“I don’t believe in curses, but I don’t know what it is,” Andretti said after losing yet another opportunity to win the 500. “It’s very frustrating.”
Three of the Andretti cars, those belonging to James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, had been consistently among the fastest in practice and qualified in the top four spots for the race.
Just before the midway point of the race, things suddenly started going wrong for Andretti Five.
Ana Beatriz spun out on lap 90. Hunter-Reay’s rear suspension broke on lap 124. Twenty-three laps later, the car of Colombia’s Sebastian Saavedra rolled to a stop on the warm-up lane with an electrical failure, nearly taking out Andretti, who had just pitted.
On lap 188, Oriol Servia and Andretti were running close together. Andretti dipped toward the white line and spun, hitting the outside wall in the first turn and forcing the Andrettis to wait one more year since their last drive into Victory Lane in 1969, when Mario Andretti won the 500.
LOTUS WOES: A poor month for Lotus ended quickly Sunday. Both of the engine manufacturer’s cars were black-flagged on lap 11 and pulled out of the race for going too slow. Simona de Silvestro’s car was running 14 mph slower than the race leaders, while Jean Alesi was running laps 15 mph slower.
Lotus is the only engine-manufacturer in the series without a win this season.