May 26, 2013 entered the history of Brazilian athletics. dream of Tony Kanaan it was perfect, impossibly so, in the most difficult of circumstances. Kanaan eventually won 500 miles from Indianapolis.
Most important name in the golden years of Andrettiin the early 2000s, Tony, who until the name of indie he already had – in 2004 -, he was still tirelessly searching for glory on the most famous oval in the world. And it came from the hands of the humble KV.
Tony arrived on the team from Kevin Kalkhoven It is Jimmy Vasser for the 2011 season, after eight years defending the colors of Andretti. The results in the first two years were quite acceptable for a team in the middle of the pack: fifth and ninth in seasons, fourth and third in two editions of indie 500. Kanaan was already taking KV to new heights.
In 2013, the dedication. In one of the most surprising editions of the Indianapolis 500 in recent times, Tony beat the trio. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Muñoz, Marco Andretti and so Andretti in general, to get there. And fulfill the dream.
“I was looking at the stands and thought ‘this is it, man, I did it’. Finally they will put my ugly face on the trophy”, said Tony as he got out of the car.
And how the victory of Canaan in indie 500? For drama and emotion, right? Starting 12th, that is, on the fourth row, Tony stayed in the front pack for the entire race. The Brazilian did not leave the top 10, he really won, nothing fell from the sky.
It is the version that also registered, until then, the highest average speed during 200 laps: 301.6 km / h, a mark that was only beaten in 2021. Furthermore, something that explains well why the race is successful to this day : there were 68 absurd changes of leadership, breaking the record registered last year: 34. Yes, half.
In total, 14 riders led the race, also a record. And that makes Kanaan’s work even more impactful: not only did he win, but he stayed ahead the whole time. With all that people lead, it is a great success. It was the show of the Brazilian woman, who in 2023 is leaving the sacred circle of IMS.
Although Andretti and Muñoz were real applicants – among many other drivers, by the way, people like AJ Allmendinger -, the final fight was between Kanaan and Hunter-Reay. It’s a hell of a fight.
The two battled fiercely for the race lead when, with 7 laps to go, graham rahal he jumped and found the inner wall. Yellow almost ended the race, but saved the restart for the last.
“The guys got on the radio and said: ‘You don’t want to lead the last lap as we saw the movements in the race’. And I answered: ‘The way it is here, the way I see it, is this: I’m going ahead, because three or two laps to go, everyone thinks he can win the race. It will be shit there. So, I’m moving forward, if I lose like that, I’ll lose. But it’s my decision. And it was the right decision”, explained Bahian in an interview with BIG PRIZES about the last restart.
And Tony was absolutely right: there was, yes, chaos, let’s call it, during the last restart. Kanaan took the lead and passed Hunter-Reay, taking Muñoz with him, who was moving up to second. One time, Dario Franchitti found the wall and stop the action. The bandyellow threshing floor, checkered flag there, Canaan in the history of IMS.
“We won the way we should win. It didn’t fall in your lap. It wasn’t the one that fell, it wasn’t a mistake in the pit, no. We won there because we dominated the whole race, we were among the first from the start”, summed up the Brazilian. GP.
The Tony win also represented the surprise end of the world of Honda in Indianapolis. Kanaan and the Andretti trio who came behind used engines Chevroletthe automaker that had been in an IMS drought since 2002, when it won it Helio Castroneves. For Toyotawhich was no longer part of the category, had the most recent victory: in 2003, and Gil de Ferran. From 2004 onwards, it was just Honda.
In total, there were 19 riders approaching the leader’s lap, which says a lot about the bet the veteran Brazilian had now placed at the yellow flag: many people feeling that they could still win the race and risk everything.
In a special interview with GP, Kanaan gave more details on how the victory was accomplished. The Brazilian talked about the time of mistrust he was going through, how the agreement with KV was seen with distorted eyes and the things that really clicked for success to happen.
“I hadn’t won 500 Miles yet [de Indianápolis], but he already had a good career with Andretti. I might as well say, ‘You know what? I will not run for a small team. [Não vou] take care of yourself people let’s talk’. But I was never like that. I love motorsport, I’ve always loved racing, and I’ve been put through the worst of it. If you are in a bad situation, why were you placed if you did not pass? [por isso], is something that scares you. And sometimes people are too selfish and too afraid to accept such a promise, especially in the last ten years, when everyone has an opinion that in the end affects you from time to time”, he commented.
“At the same time, I thought, ‘I’m going back to my roots. I want to continue racing cars because I like to do it’. Well, it’s not the team I wanted. I had a five-year contract with Andretti which, for warranty reasons, those guys didn’t honor However, these are things that happen in life, nothing in life is guaranteed”, he recalled.
“At that time, I thought I was at the end of my career, because if you consider that I left the best team. indie at that time, he was already a bit old, however. So I thought of going to KV, starting a business for a couple more years, and if that didn’t work out, doing something else with my life. And, man, the team was small, but there were a lot of good people. So much so that if I tell you where each of these guys are, they’re all in the big four Indy teams today – between the engineer, the mechanic, the shock engineer. So, we had a good team, but we didn’t have a team to compete for the championship, because we didn’t have enough budget,” added Tony, who was 38 years old when he won. Indy 500.
“The only thing left for me was to win the 500 Miles, so Jimmy and I sat down [Vasser, proprietário da KV], and he told me that I would live a whole year to focus on 500 Miles. If you look, the first year I came fourth and third. And then first. Like it or not, it happened because we focused and I knew it had potential. And from there, a team that had never won a race, just won the greatest race in the world.
“We didn’t have the money to go to the next stage, but we survived. today they [da KV] to do IMSA, and Lexus factory drivers, but continued with [Sébastien] Bourdais for a long time. Therefore, the decision was not made because of lack of choice, because at that time I had signed a contract with Gil’s team, but we had to plan a certain budget by a certain time of the year and it did not work out.
“It had to work [na KV]. We signed with KV nine days before St. Pete, we went to Homestead [Miami] on Monday before St. A ring just so I can move around in the car. We arrived at St. Ring and we made the podium. They were very good years. I don’t want people to think that the team was bad, on the contrary. The team had no budget. We were smart to focus on the most important competition of the year and the competition that would give us the most respect, and it worked.”
Kanaan, who was already in the history of the division thanks to the 2004 title and the group of fans he won, also entered the hallowed list of Indianapolis. He said it himself, we just repeat: it should have been like this, and KV, the way it was. And it was very good.
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