May 25, 2014, 7:11 AM EDT
Tony Kanaan is an Indianapolis 500 champion, and entering the 2014 race, that’s the one major bit of news that’s different than this time last year.
All the media events that have followed since last May 26 have cast “TK’s” elusive ‘500 victory in different spotlights.
The biggest thing about it is, it’s real, and it’s eternal.
“I feel like nobody can take it away from me,” Kanaan said during IMS media day on Thursday. “I’d run for the next 30 years here if I can. It’s a magical place. If from today until the day I retired, God knows when, if I never won here again, OK. But, in 2013, I did.”
As TK goes for the encore in 2014, there’s several different elements.
For one, he’s now in the classic red No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, albeit a car that’s now adorned in a special silver livery this week to commemorate the 25-year partnership between Target and the team. He switched from KV Racing Technology in the offseason.
He’s no longer directly working with longtime engineer Eric Cowdin, but is now with Chris Simmons, who guided Dario Franchitti to a pair of ‘500 wins in 2010 and 2012.
And Franchitti, Kanaan’s good friend, admitted to him last year that the older they get, the harder it gets.
“It never gets easier,” Kanaan said. “Because me and Dario, have been racing together for so long, you can kind of predict more or less will happen.
“You think it gets easier. But the older you get, the more nervous we got. Last year it’s just me and that conversation; Dario’s my best friend. I wouldn’t tell this to others. But I’m freaking nervous. I have a butterfly like my first go-kart race. I ask, ‘Does that happen?’ And he’s like, ‘Every year, it gets worse.’
“But that moment is the best feeling. You want to get in the car because the moment of anticipation disappears. Then it’s time to do your job.”
He’ll start 16th today, as he seeks back-to-back wins. No one has pulled off that feat since countryman Helio Castroneves, in 2001 and 2002.
Kanaan’s a definite favorite, and led Friday’s Carb Day practice.
“We worked really hard to make it up for our qualifying,” he said. “We have great people back in engineering and we showed it a bit this week.”
Mar 29, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Simply finishing the race must go down as an incredible achievement for Manor.
Mar 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Did a mistake in Q1 on Saturday cost Lewis Hamilton a chance to win the Malaysian Grand Prix?
Mar 29, 2015, 7:15 AM EDT
Breaking the record by over two years, Max Verstappen cemented his place in the F1 history books in Malaysia on Sunday.
Mar 29, 2015, 6:30 AM EDT
Ferrari team principal oversees his first victory since taking the helm at Maranello.
Mar 29, 2015, 5:56 AM EDT
German driver didn’t expect his challenge to Ferrari in Australia to be taken up so quickly.
Mar 29, 2015, 5:36 AM EDT
British driver humble in defeat after losing out to Vettel and Ferrari in Malaysia.
Mar 29, 2015, 5:19 AM EDT
German driver claims a superb win in Malaysia in just his second race for Ferrari.
Mar 29, 2015, 4:46 AM EDT
Ferrari claims its first win since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix as Vettel perfects his strategy to win at Sepang.
Mar 29, 2015, 2:34 AM EDT
Fuel system problem sidelines the Briton on Sunday for Manor.
Mar 29, 2015, 2:15 AM EDT
Join us on NBCSN and Live Extra for all of the action from Malaysia as Lewis Hamilton goes in search of another race win.
Mar 29, 2015, 2:00 AM EDT
Lewis Hamilton will lead the grid away at Sepang on Sunday.
Mar 28, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT
It was a double dose of Force in Saturday’s final rounds of qualifying for the sixth-annual NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.
Mar 28, 2015, 7:46 PM EDT
Roundup of the rest of Saturday’s action from St. Petersburg.
Mar 28, 2015, 7:20 PM EDT
NBC Sports Group’s “Off the Grid” digital series hits Mexico City, set to premiere on March 31.
Mar 28, 2015, 7:11 PM EDT
Simona de Silvestro happy to be somewhat disappointed with 11th in IndyCar qualifying at St. Petersburg.
Mar 28, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT
Takuma Sato puts together a successful qualifying effort for A.J. Foyt Enterprises, ending in fifth and best Honda.
Mar 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT
After top-four qualifying sweep, the Team Penske teammates are praising each other rather than trading shots.
Mar 28, 2015, 5:24 PM EDT
Power on pole as Team Penske goes 1-2-3-4 in St. Petersburg qualifying.
Mar 28, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT
Indy Lights’ new era kicks off at St. Petersburg with a new driver and team on top in the series’ new car.
Mar 28, 2015, 1:27 PM EDT
More Will Power on top of IndyCar practice at St. Petersburg.
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