My First 500: Tony Kanaan

Published On February 26, 2016 » 2678 Views» By Samantha Gray » Blogs, Indy 500

We’re chronicling 100 days of Indy 500 history on #SpeedRead leading up to the historic 100th Running. With 93 days to go, we look back with Tony Kanaan at his first time at the Indianapolis 500 as not only a fan, but also a driver.

TK’s rookie ride for the 2002 Indianapolis 500

TK’s rookie ride for the 2002 Indianapolis 500

Mine was in 2002, my first race at Indy with Mo Nunn. I told myself I’d never go into IMS unless it was for me to be racing at the 500, so the first time I crossed the tunnel was when I got invited to be in the race.

It was so different, almost magical. By 2002 I had been racing in CART for four years and I had won a big race, the U.S. 500 in Michigan. But nothing compared to what I felt on that race morning.

Before having the chance to attend the Indy 500, I remember watching the race every year with my father. The 1989 one that Emmo won really comes to mind when I dig for memories of watching the race as a kid.

I only understood the meaning of the 500 after I raced there the first time. Obviously I watched it many times on TV before being part of it, but that day in 2002 I got it. I had a great car and was leading by a bunch before I caught some oil left on track by another car and crashed.

TK led laps as an Indy rookie in 2002 and has been pretty darned good here ever since.

TK led laps as an Indy rookie in 2002 and has been pretty darned good here ever since.

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Samantha Gray

I enjoy engaging and informative social content and providing our fans with a great online experience. As the Social Media Strategist for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I would love to hear your feedback on our digital presence. Leave comments and let us know how we're doing. Follow @IMS on Twitter and 'Like' Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Facebook.
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