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Thrilled Kanaan finally joins the Indy greats

Tony Kanaan reveals what it's like to win one of the biggest prizes in world motorsports - one that he's dreamed about clinching for more than a decade - and which is now his.
There are few people more popular in motor sports than Tony Kanaan. Hard as nails on the track, one of the nicest guys you'll meet off it, everyone was genuinely delighted he had finally achieved a life's dream.

No matter who you were supporting in the 2013 Indianapolis 500, chances are that when the the chequered flag came out at the end of the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday you were as delighted as everyone else watching that Tony Kanaan had finally become an Indianapolis 500 champion.

"I'm speechless. This is it, man. I made it," he said after clinching a long-awaited dream victory in the race he wanted to win more than any other. "Finally they're going to put my ugly face on this trophy!"

Everyone was lining up to shake the 38-year-old Brazilian racer's hand and congratulate him on his long-sought-after success. It's taken 12 attempts to get here, and in the end he was also slightly fortunate to he helped out by a yellow caused by his old friend Dario Franchitti at just the right moment. But none of that matters now: only the win does.

"I got a little bit of luck today," he said. "It's for the fans. It's for my dad that's not here. But mainly for all of you guys. I was looking at the stands, and it was unbelievable.

"We were known for not winning, and now we are winning," he added. "I don't know what to say."

As well as his wife Lauren, his car owner Jimmy Vasser and the whole KV Racing Technology crew, Kanaan also had the backing of a sporting legend as it emerged that London Paralympics gold medalist Alex Zanardi had been in his corner on race day and even offered some golden assistance to Kanaan's Indy campaign.

"Alex Zanardi gave us some luck today," explained Vasser. "He gave us his gold medal from London and told us, 'Rub this all over the car.' Tony took the medal to his motorhome with him for an hour."

"I actually cuddled with the thing," laughed Kanaan. "Still in my bus!"

"I tell you, I'm starting to think it really works, it's profitable," quipped Zanardi. "I might put it up for sale!"

Zanardi - who'd been in Indianapolis for a special Friday presentation of his 1996 Laguna Seca race-winning car from Chip Ganassi - was delighted that he'd been on hand to see his friend achieve a lifetime's ambition on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"It's fantastic," said the Paralympian. "It's a dream come true to see Tony win, to see Jimmy Vasser win, my dear friend. We couldn't believe it. I'm so happy. I'm so happy."




Related Pictures

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The race-winning #11 KV Racing car of Tony Kanaan in victory lane after the 2013 Indianapolis 500 - Sunday, May 26 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan celebrates winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500 - Sunday, May 26 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
KV Racing team owner Jimmy Vasser congratulates Tony Kanaan on winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500 - Sunday, May 26 2013. (Photo Credit: Michael Roth for IndyCar Media)
Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti congratulates Tony Kanaan on winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500 - Sunday, May 26 2013. (Photo Credit: Michael Roth for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan`s wife Lauren celebrates celebrates after her husband wins the 2013 Indianapolis 500 - Sunday, May 26 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan celebrates after winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500 - Sunday, May 26 2013. (Photo Credit: Eric McCombs for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay waits on pitlane prior to practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson and Charlie Kimball go side-by-side for the start of the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay with an early pit stop during the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson exits Turn 2 during practice for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson waits on pit lane prior to qualifications for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates second place (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves on pit road (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves leads Ryan Briscoe (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves on pit lane prior to qualifications for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves heads down the Long Pond Straightaway during practice for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag as he races to victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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