Tony Kanaan Headlines PRI Show Opening Breakfast

Customarily equipped with a wide smile, this photo shows a serious Tony Kanaan - courtesy Arrow McLaren Racing
Customarily equipped with a wide smile, this photo shows a serious Tony Kanaan – courtesy Arrow McLaren Racing

When he first came to the United States to audition for Steve and Christine Horne’s Tasman Motorsports Indy Lights team, Tony Kanaan barely spoke a word of English. He was told by the Horne’s that he needed to think in English in order to talk in English. He learned; he learned well.

Now, after an exemplary career that saw Kanaan earn the Indy Lights crown before going on to race in CART/INDYCAR full-time until just the past couple of years, Tony Kanaan bid farewell to major open wheel racing at this year’s 107th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, where he was part of the Arrow McLaren Racing team. He’s handed in his shoes, helmet, gloves and suit in open wheel, but continues to race saloon cars in his native Brazil and to be a consultant/cheerleader for Arrow McLaren.

This December, Tony Kanaan kicks off the 2023 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show in Indianapolis as the headline guest at the trade show’s annual Grand Opening Breakfast on Thursday, December 7th in Indianapolis. The traditional breakfast, which opens the show that’s a landing spot for motorsports professionals worldwide, normally has a question-and-answer period in which the guest of honor gets to tell his stories.

Kanaan has more than a few good stories to tell from his voluminous career in INDYCAR, where he’s driven with Tasman, Morris Nunn Racing, Team Green, Andretti Green, KV Racing Technologies, Chip Ganassi Racing and with Arrow McLaren. Journalist Ralph Sheheen will have the pleasure of talking with Kanaan from the stage and will be able to elicit some of his more ribald stories (there are many).

The two will engage in a free-flowing, fun/informative conversation that’s sure to be a proper wake-up call for those attendees just arriving in the Circle City. No doubt he’ll be able to share with Sheheen and the PRI audience nuggets from his celebrated 25-year INDYCAR career that began in 1998, when the Brazilian was CART Rookie of the Year. During his stellar career, Kanaan has earned 17 wins, a single 2004 INDYCAR SERIES championship during which he completed every single lap of every single race, 15 pole positions and 134 top-five results.

Kanaan’s sole Indianapolis 500 victory, in his 12th start, was celebrated wildly by his broad spectrum of fans in 2013; Tony Kanaan, in his 23 Indy 500 starts, has led a total of 367 laps, including laps led in his first seven editions of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. He’s raced as INDYCAR’s “iron man” with 389 starts, second only to Mario Andretti, and has 318 consecutive starts, a series record. Kanaan has won multiple series and events, including his 1997 Indy Lights title, his 2004 INDYCAR championship, his 2013 Indy 500 triumph, winning the LMP2 class at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring and in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with Chip Ganassi Racing.

The Grand Opening Breakfast for this year’s PRI show has its door-opening at 7AM, while the program with Kanaan and Sheheen begins at 7:45. The show floor opens immediately after the breakfast and continues through to Saturday evening.

About Anne Proffit 1266 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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