SPEEDWAY — While the record-setting 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 ended under caution, every spectator in the front stretch grandstands stood as the checkered flag waved because a fan favorite was finally getting his due.
Tony Kanaan crossed the yard of bricks to a chorus of cheers, claps and jubilation from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway crowd that understood the moment.
After leading nine different Indianapolis 500’s that left Kanaan with only five Top 5 finishes and 225 laps led to show, the Brazilian finally won the World’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing in his 12th attempt.
“This place, I’ve always said it, it’s been special to me and I meant that when I said that. I didn’t have to win here,” Kanaan said. “The fans, they actually spoiled me a little bit on my win. When I finished 11th here, starting dead last, I got out of the car and it was exactly the same.
“I all ready had felt a little bit. I hadn’t drank the milk, kissed the bricks, but it means a lot to me, because so many people, I feel they wanted me to win.”
Kanaan dedicated the win to the fans for cheering him on after so many close opportunities to win at the historic 2.5-mile oval.
“It’s such a selfish thing to do because what are they getting from it… I’m the one that gets the trophy,” Kanaan said of the fans. “I said it before the race, I believed that this win was more for people out there than for me.”
A Dario Franchitti wreck in Turn 1 after a restart on Lap 198 brought out the race-ending caution. Kanaan nervously started checking the vitals of the No. 11 Hydroxycut KV Racing Technology-SH Racing Chevrolet as he crept along under yellow as the leader hoping his previous bad luck did not strike again.