But after running the final lap under caution, Kanaan flipped up his visor to wipe away tears as the crowd gave him a roar of approval. In victory lane, he kissed his wife and poured the celebratory winner’s milk over his head.
Tony Kanaan’s Indy 500 victory was huge for the race’s former hard-luck loser. Now, he can call himself champion of the track that caused him more than a decade of problems.
The IndyCar driver commented, “I have to say, the last lap was the strongest lap of my life.” And despite seeing someone other than themselves in victory lane, the losers were pleased with the race’s outcome.
The evidence came in a scene much like that when Dale Earnhardt finally won the Daytona 500 on his 20th try. Dario Franchitti, who crashed to bring out the final caution, stood next to his crumpled car and gave Kanaan the thumbs up as the new champ rode by under caution.
Franchitti, last year’s winner, explained, “When I saw who was leading, it cheered me up a little bit. He’s a very, very deserving winner.” The fans agreed. They stood on their feet and chanted, “TK! TK! TK!” as Tony Kanaan and team owner Jimmy Vasser went by during their victory lap.
The Indianapolis 500 win was magical to Kanaan, who has wished for the victory for years. He added:
“It means a lot to me because so many people, I could feel that they wanted me to win, and it’s such a selfish thing to do because what are they getting from it? I’m the one who gets the trophy. I believed that this win was more for people out there than for me.”
Are you glad that Tony Kanaan won the Indianapolis 500?