Tony Kanaan

Tony Kanaan

Infobox racing driver
name = Tony Kanaan

pixels = 250px
caption =
nationality = BRA
date of birth = Birth date and age|1974|12|31
place of birth = Salvador, Brazil
current series = IRL IndyCar Series
first year = 2002
current team = Andretti Green Racing
car number = 11
former teams =
starts = 98
wins = 13
poles = 10
fastest laps =
best finish = 1st
year = 2004
prev series =
prev series years =
titles =
title years =
awards =
award years =

Antoine Rizkallah Kanaan Filho, commonly known as Tony Kanaan (born December 31, 1974) is a Brazilian race car driver of Lebanese heritage from Salvador, Brazil. Kanaan won the 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series championship driving Andretti Green Racing's 7-Eleven sponsored car, winning three times in his Honda-powered Dallara. That season he completed 3,305 laps, making him the first IndyCar Series driver to complete every possible lap in a season. He also led 889 laps in 13 separate races to establish an IndyCar Series record. Kanaan is also the only driver to lead the Indianapolis 500 in each of his first seven starts, though he has yet to win this flagship event. He has a total of 13 IRL race victories.

Racing career

Kanaan was the 1997 Indy Lights champion, driving for Tasman. In 1999 he scored his first major victory in the Champ Car World Series by winning the U.S. 500 at Michigan International Speedway for Forsythe Championship Racing. After the Forsythe team lost their McDonald's sponsorship package, Kanaan moved on to Mo Nunn's start-up team for the next three years before moving on to the IRL.

Following his championship season, in 2005 he placed second in the championship to his teammate Dan Wheldon. That year, he won his first pole position for the Indianapolis 500 to add to his finishes of second, third, fifth and eighth in the event. Winning the Indianapolis 500 remains one of the few holes in his resume. In September 2005 he tested a Formula One car with the BAR-Honda Team at Jerez as a reward for his 2004 IRL championship in a Honda powered car.

Kanaan is good friend of Brazilian Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello, and they exchanged helmets for the events in May 28, 2006. Barrichello wore Kanaan's helmet livery during the Monaco GP and Kanaan wore Rubens's one during the Indy 500.

Another of Kanaan's long-time good friends and a former teammate from his Tasman days is Helio Castroneves. Kanaan and Castroneves have developed an intense rivalry that has resulted in some hard feelings. Castroneves accused Kanaan of costing him the 2006 IndyCar Series championship by racing him too hard for position in the final race. Kanaan countered that he was not paid to let other people pass him for position. The two started to patch up their differences at Indianapolis in 2007.

Kanaan had a fine 2007 season, winning a series-high five events by taking first place in Japan at Honda's Twin Ring Motegi track, the Milwaukee Mile, Michigan International Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, and the Detroit Grand Prix in Belle Isle. He also took the pole position at Kansas, although a pit-incident with team-mate Danica Patrick dropped him from a possible win. Later he took a second pole position at Kentucky. At the 2007 Indianapolis 500 he dominated the field and led at a rain delay just past the halfway point. A questionable call to pit right before the rain-shortened race ended gave the race to his teammate, Dario Franchitti, who did not appear to have Kanaan's speed. It was the latest in a string of disappointments at Indianapolis, and Kanaan is now often referred to -- along with his team owner Michael Andretti -- as one of the best drivers never to win the Indianapolis 500.Fact|date=December 2007 Kanaan recorded his first win of 2008 in the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway.

Motorsports Career Results

American Open-Wheel

() (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Champ Car

: ** Podium (Non-win) indicates 2nd or 3rd place finishes.: *** Top 10s (Non-podium) indicates 4th through 10th place finishes.

Indy 500 results

0 wins, 1 pole

External links

* [ Tony Kanaan official website]

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