It’s a good thing Tony Kanaan won the Indy 500 under caution , because he drove that final lap looking through tears. I asked him how much he was thinking about his Dad,. “A lot”, he told me. “Cried that entire last lap.”
Antoine “Tony” Kanaan was born in Salvador, Brazil on New Year’s Eve in 1974, the only son of the owner of a Sao Paolo courier business.
New Year’s Eve. Seems appropriate. His life has been spent turning every room into a party. Some people have that kind of zest.
It’s puzzling when you see the numbers.
He’s led 15 “500”s- only Scott Dixon has led as many. His 7 consecutive “500”s led was once a record. He’s done so twice.
Perhaps the number that most sticks out?
Tony Kanaan is 48 years old.
As he embarks on his 22nd “500”, perhaps it’s the words he heard through tears that keep him going.
“Take care of your Mother and your sister”, his father told him before passing away of cancer. “And don’t quit racing.”
Tony Kanaan was 13 years old.
So, the racing continues. His stock car schedule in his native Brazil allows regular visits with his Mother and sister. A part of his heart will always belong in his home nation.
These days, however, TK, a naturalized US citizen, is a Hoosier.
He doesn’t say as much, but he doesn’t need to. As his wife Lauren, a Cambridge City, Indiana native explains, “He’s properly obsessed with all that we hold dear. The State Fair, I.M.S., the Colts, the Pacers. We got him converted from the Miami teams he rooted for.”
It’s beyond sports for Tony, who, along with Lauren, chose to raise their children in Indianapolis. He proudly advocates for their education in public schools.
“He is a person who has it in his nature to be kind to people”, Lauren says. “He is thoughtful. He has adopted Hoosier Hospitality, he loves how we love our community. He is the best house husband because he’ll run an errand or get in the school pick up line any time it’s needed. But I know it’ll take a little longer- because he’ll stop to take a picture or talk to everyone.”
He’s a workout warrior who spends hours a day on the treadmill or exercise bike.
Perhaps it’s just a way to sneak a viewing of his beloved true crime shows, or maybe it’s to offset his occasional treat of white chocolate or ice cream.
Or perhaps, it’s just to allow him to continue honoring the last request of his father.
His Dad owned a courier business.
Tony Kanaan continues to deliver.