IndyCar information | Tony Kanaan’s profession comes full circle with Helio Castroneves, 40 years on

Tony Kanaan could not maintain again tears as the fact set in. With lap 200 of this 12 months’s Indianapolis 500 within the books, his racing profession was full. 

It ended the way in which it started, racing wheel-to-wheel with countryman Helio Castroneves.

The pair have been kart racing rivals as kids in Brazil’s Belo Horizonte and teammates once they started racing in the US.

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In 1996, Kanaan and Castroneves raced collectively underneath the Tasman Motorsports banner within the then-known Indy Lights, one rung under IndyCar.

Kanaan received the title in 1997 whereas Castroneves completed runner-up. A 12 months later, they each graduated to the massive time, albeit with totally different groups.

Though they’ve each been on the IndyCar grid each season within the 24 years since, they by no means reunited as teammates once more.

“That is what’s ironic,” stated Kanaan, now 48. 

“We began it in ’87 and the final lap of the race we’re really battling – my final race in IndyCar – and we’re battling prefer it was for the lead.

“However I would not have it any totally different, neither to him.

“The final restart. We went side-by-side like twice. Loads of reminiscences got here to my thoughts, and I even stated how ironic it’s that we began it collectively and I get to battle him on the final lap of my final race.

“It is fairly neat. It is a fairly cool story. He is an ideal pal, my reference, a man that I like and hate lots all through my profession, and like he simply advised me – I used to be arising right here and he simply stated, ‘Who am I going to look on the timesheet after I come into the pits now?’ 

“We at all times stated that it did not matter if I used to be — twenty second and he was twenty third, my day was okay. And vice versa. Yeah, it was fairly cool.”

Kanaan’s retirement was considerably overdue. He had deliberate for 2020 to be his ultimate full season, however the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to that.

Saying farewell on the Indianapolis 500 in entrance of an empty grandstand wasn’t an choice both.

Lastly, three years after initially saying his impending departure, Kanaan made it official. The 107th working of the Indianapolis was to be his final.

It was an emotional rollercoaster for the Brazilian-born fan favorite, who held again tears as the gang roared throughout driver introductions.

Having begun his profession alongside Castroneves, it was relatively becoming then that they battled within the closing laps of this 12 months’s race.

“I advised the blokes earlier than we began, it was both going to be a win or something aside from the win we have been going to have a good time regardless,” Kanaan defined.

“I believe I’d do a shame to nearly 400,000 folks that have been there that made me really feel the way in which they did to say I am unhappy. 

“I had amusing. Helio and I battling for fifteenth and sixteenth on the final lap like we’re going for the lead. It was like, ‘who’s enjoying pranks with us?’

“We each went side-by-side on the backstretch after the chequer and we saluted with one another, and I simply advised him really I dropped a tear due to that, and he stated, ‘I did, too’.

“It was a great day for me, man. What can I say? We cried on the grid.”

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