Tony Kanaan admits Indy 500 close calls are just ‘stories’

Tony Kanaan, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Tony Kanaan, Indy 500, IndyCar (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Tony Kanaan has led an all-time record 15 Indy 500 races, giving him a number of stories of “the one that got away”. But as the 2013 champion, he is okay with telling them.

Indy 500 start number 22 is set to be Tony Kanaan’s final start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and he is set to do it behind the wheel of the No. 66 Chevrolet for Arrow McLaren after Zak Brown’s team added a fourth car just for this race.

Kanaan enters this year’s running of the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Speedway, Indiana oval having led laps in 15 of his previous 21 starts in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”.

Nobody has led more Indy 500s than the 48-year-old Brazilian, with him sharing the record with former teammate Scott Dixon. So with only the one win back in 2013, he naturally has some stories of races that “got away”.

But as the 2013 winner who will forever have his name etched into the history books, and his face carved onto the Borg-Warner Trophy, he is okay with telling them.

“Oh, I have plenty, man,” Kanaan admitted to Beyond the Flag. “I mean, I lost one on the yellow in 2004. The one [2007] that rained more than halfway through, and I was in the lead, and they waited for four hours because they said, ‘This is not fair to finish this race like this, we want to go the full distance.’ We dried the track, six laps later, it rained again, and we didn’t finish the race. And I lost it.”

Tony Kanaan admits that these Indy 500 stories are literally just that: stories.

“There are a few, but anybody who you’re going to interview is going to have a story that they could have, should have, and would have had one,” he continued. “I have to put it this way: look how many times Helio finished second, and he has four. So he would have nine by now! So yeah, it’s all stories, but the reality is, I didn’t win, and that’s it.”

For context, nobody has won more Indy 500s than Helio Castroneves has. But the four-time winner also has three runner-up finishes that total a 0.56-second deficit.

The speedway can truly be unforgiving, and it owes nobody anything. Not even the unofficial “mayor” of Indianapolis.

But no matter what might have been or what might still be, Kanaan is super appreciative of what did happen in 2013, when he finally got to drink the milk.

“Like I tell people, no matter what’s gonna happen May 28, at the end of the race, I’m gonna be probably upset, or I’m gonna be happy,” he explained. “But if it doesn’t happen the way I want it, when I get home, and I open the door, and I turn right in my house, my Borg is right there. So I’m fine!”

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On Sunday, May 28, the 107th running of the Indy 500 is set to be broadcast live on NBC from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET. Don’t forget to begin a free trial of FuboTV now!