SPEEDWAY, Ind. – The last time Tony Kanaan was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he was celebrating an Indianapolis 500 victory. Kanaan hopes his next trip will be just as productive.
Kanaan will have the chance to accomplish something no driver has ever done at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he competes in the Rolex Series Brickyard Grand Prix – win two major events at IMS.
“Obviously it would mean a lot,” said Kanaan, who will drive a Daytona Prototype for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. “When I got the phone call from Chip (Ganassi) to do this, I was extremely excited. I’ve been watching obviously Scott (Pruett) and Memo (Rojas) for a long time. But, to be honest, I’ve never driven one of those cars. I’m going to have to learn a lot in the first day. I will do anything I can do to help the team. If we’re in a position to do that, for sure we’ll take it.
“It took me 12 years to win the 500. To win two races in Indianapolis, I don’t know what to think yet. I know we have a competitive car. I’m just glad to be part of it.”
Ryan Briscoe’s wrist injury opened the door for Kanaan to drive alongside Joey Hand in the three-hour endurance race. Still, Kanaan is treating the race differently than he did to the IZOD IndyCar Series race.
“I think I’m going to lean a lot on Scott and Joey to teach me,” he said. “A couple days ago I got an e-mail from Tim (Keene), our team manager at Ganassi, four pages that I had to learn, all the switches and stuff. I think we have a little bit of time on Thursday for me to learn that. Even to learn the racetrack. It’s funny to say that I don’t know the track. The track I know runs the opposite way and only turns left”
It also will allow Kanaan to introduce his son Leo to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I haven’t been to the track since the 500,” Kanaan said. “For sure it will give me a great feeling when I drive through the tunnel for the first time, look at the pagoda, all the things. I got so lucky, my kid is on vacation with me this month from Brazil. This deal came up a week ago. Coincidentally he gets to be here. He wasn’t here at the 500. As you guys all know, I promised him the trophy, he was going to get the Borg-Warner. He’s all excited. He’s never been to Indianapolis. It’s a great fit.”
But still, Kanaan wouldn’t mind coming away with another visit to the Yard of Bricks as an Indianapolis winner.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of race you do in Indianapolis, any driver wants to win, no doubt about it,” he said.