This was supposed to be Tony Kanaan’s last lap. The popular Brazilian driver was supposed to retire at seasons end. But, this damn pandemic is ruining it. Now, with the decision that the Indianapolis 500 this year will be held without fans, Kanaan doesn’t feel right to let this be it.
So, Kanaan plans to be back next year, so long as there will be fans back in 2021. He’s not going out like this. He can’t. The fan favorite can hang up is helmet without getting a proper farewell.
“I have a lot of mixed feelings about it,” Kanaan said of today’s announcement of no fans. “I think deep inside we always race the majority of the times because of the fans. They’re the ones – especially for me at Indy —they’re the most important thing.
“Obviously we had to make a decision and I think it’s the safest one but it’s sad, it’s just so sad. The whole world is sad right now. But we’ll get through it. Hopefully everyone will be watching the Indy 500 on TV and cheering as loudly as they would at the race track. But…that makes me wonder—I don’t think this should be my last Indy 500.”
Kanaan, has made 18 past starts in the big race. He won the 2013 race in dramatic fashion and has led 346 career laps. He’s finished in the top 10 in three of his last four tries.
His boss, AJ Foyt, has seen it all here at IMS. Or has he?
He’s never seen a pandemic and the four time Indy 500 winner can’t fathom a race here without fans being there to witness it.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but I never thought I’d see the race run without fans,” Foyt said. “I know it had to be a really tough decision for Roger to make and it was the right one for this time. I’ll miss seeing the fans because I think I have a lot of fans in Indy and they were the reason I kept coming back here when I got hurt. It’s a real shame that they can’t be here this year but I think they will be here in spirit. And I look forward to seeing them back here next year when things get back to normal.”
Practice starts next Wednesday (Aug. 12).