Indy 500: Iconic sponsor still rides with Tony Kanaan

Tony Kanaan, 7-Eleven, Arrow McLaren, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Tony Kanaan, 7-Eleven, Arrow McLaren, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

He might not be in the iconic green car for this year’s Indy 500. But Tony Kanaan is still backed by 7-Eleven, one of the most loyal sponsors IndyCar has seen in the last few decades.

Tony Kanaan is set to make his 22nd and final Indy 500 start with his sixth different team, competing for Arrow McLaren behind the wheel of the No. 66 Chevrolet.

Kanaan, the 2013 winner of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, initially planned on retiring after 2020, but that obviously got pushed back — multiple times.

In fact, some, including a few members of the NBC/Peacock broadcast booth, still believe that this year’s Indy 500 won’t mark his last attempt at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

But whether this is really it for the 48-year-old Brazilian or not, many fans have taken notice of an iconic sponsor that is on board Kanaan’s “final ride”.

7-Eleven, a longtime primary sponsor of Tony Kanaan, continues to ride with him as he wraps up his IndyCar and Indy 500 career.

While it may not be the iconic green car that some of the older fans grew used to in the 2000s, it marks the continuation of one of IndyCar’s most iconic partnerships of the modern era.

“Talk about loyalty, right?” Kanaan said to Beyond the Flag. “I think, you know, when you talk about even this team, with Arrow McLaren and [CEO] Zak [Brown] being in this organization from the beginning, I see how many people who worked for Zak for so long, and that’s loyalty. And that’s what 7-Eleven is to me.

“They obviously were a big, big part of my career, then they decided to leave the sport being a full-time sponsor, but they never left me,” he continued. “It’s the longest sponsor relationship I’ve had. The CEO [Joseph DePinto] is still the same guy, which means, you know, tells a lot about the company as well.

“And he’s a friend, he’s a mentor, and he’s like, we can’t miss that [race]. So I’m proud to have them on the car, proud to bring them to the team, and you know, obviously, they’re coming to support me. It’s really cool if you think about it.”

Kanaan summed it up about as well as anyone can.

“Anybody who followed my career, you cannot think about Tony Kanaan without 7-Eleven and that green car,” he concluded.

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NBC is set to broadcast the Indy 500 live from Indianapolis Motor Speedway beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET on Memorial Day Sunday, May 28. If you have not yet begun a free trial of FuboTV, don’t miss your chance to do so!