Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tony Kanaan

Antoine Rizkallah Kanaan Filho, commonly known as Tony Kanaan (born December 31, 1974 in Salvador, Brazil) is a Brazilian racecar driver of Lebanese heritage. Kanaan won the 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series championship driving Andretti Green Racing's 7-Eleven sponsored car, winning three times in his Honda-powered Dallara. That season he completed 3,305 laps, making him the first IndyCar Series driver to complete every possible lap in a season. He also led 889 laps in 13 separate races to establish an IndyCar Series record. Kanaan is also the only driver to lead the Indianapolis 500 in each of his first seven starts, though he has yet to win this flagship event. He has a total of 13 IRL race victories.

Kanaan is good friend of Brazilian Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello, and they exchanged helmets for the events in May 28, 2006. Barrichello wore Kanaan's helmet livery during the Monaco GP and Kanaan wore Rubens's one during the Indy 500.

Another of Kanaan's long-time good friends and a former teammate from his Tasman days is Helio Castroneves. Kanaan and Castroneves have developed an intense rivalry that has resulted in some hard feelings. Castroneves accused Kanaan of costing him the 2006 IndyCar Series championship by racing him too hard for position in the final race. Kanaan countered that he was not paid to let other people pass him for position. The two started to patch up their differences at Indianapolis in 2007.

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