Victorious Tony Kanaan
Photo by Scott LePage for Chevrolet

Undoubtedly, TONY KANAAN’s first victory in 12 Indy 500 starts was very popular … with the fans as well as his peers and the other teams. The veteran driver, racing for KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, has a huge following in IndyCars, which goes back a few years.

Kanaan drove the 2 hour 40+ minute race with torn ligaments in his right thumb. He also drove with a necklace regifted to him by a then 14-year old comatose pediatric patient he visited in hospital nine years ago. She survived, recovered and is doing well. She gave it back to him four days before this race, for his good luck. TK also had another very good luck charm – the gold medal earned by his good buddy, ALEX ZANARDI, from the 2012 London Olympics. TK said he cuddled it and it’s still in his bus.

“I never had a doubt I could win this thing. I talked about it many times that I could do it or not, but this places is still going to be special. Today it worked.”

Kanaan, 38, is now the second oldest IZOD IndyCar driver behind DARIO FRANCHITTI/Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda who just turned 40 this week. TK is an easy interview and quite affable, relaxed and humorous. One of his quips – “Every time I got married, I won a championship or a race … I’m OK, honey (waving to his wife), I don’t want to win anything anymore. I’m good.”

Co-Team Owner, JIMMY VASSER, was the 1996 CART Champion, but never won the Indy 500. “In fact, I couldn’t win it as a driver, so I had to hire the right guy to do it, get a baby Borg on my shelf. Tony is the consummate professional.”

Vasser said KVRT focused on Indy, rather than the season. “We set aside a chassis, and – in old school fashion – called it a special, put it aside and worked on it. A lot of hard work over the winter, keeping things together.”

Kanaan had a new teammate this season – SIMONA DE SILVESTRO of Switzerland. She was one of four females in the race. She finished seventeenth, and said “I was super excited that Tony finally won his first Indy 500 and that I was his teammate when he did it.”

ANA BEATRIZ/Dale Coyne Racing Honda was the top finishing female, at P 15, and CARLOS MUNOZ/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet was the top Rookie, finishing as the runner-up.

Jimmy Vasser, Tony Kanaan & Kevin Kalkhoven

Kanaan's Gecko

Jimmy Vasser, Tony Kanaan & Kevin Kalkhoven

That sound you heard over the cheers of the huge, happy crowd at the 97th Indianapolis 500 Race was records breaking in record fashion.

•Sixty-eight lead changes – double the previous record set last year!
•Fourteen different race leaders
•Fastest average race speed of 187.433 mph
•First time for the number #11 to win an Indy 500
•133 consecutive green flag laps: Laps 61-193 – longest ever string in Indy 500
•Fastest Indy 500 average race speed-187.433 mph, fifth time record broken
•21 caution laps, fewest of a completed Indy 500 race
•TK and MARCO ANDRETTI each took the lead from seven different drivers-Indy 500 record

•TK will be the 100th face on the Borg Warner Trophy

Points Standings
1. Marco ANDRETTI // 168
2. Takuma SATO // 157
3. Helio CASTRONEVES // 152
4. Ryan HUNTER-REAY // 138
5. James HINCHCLIFFE // 128
6. Justin WILSON // 125
7. Tony KANAAN // 124
8. Scott DIXON // 122
9. Oriol SERVIA // 112
10. Simon PAGENAUD // 108

The next IZOD IndyCar race weekend, the Chevrolet Indy Duel in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans, is just six days away – the first double header race of 2013.