Kanaan prefers to fly underneath radar
Tony Kanaan doesn't mind if all the attention for the 91st Indianapolis 500 isn't focused on him. In fact, he'd prefer that people forgot about him and his No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Honda-powered Dallara.
"I don't want to be in the spotlight," Kanaan said. "If people aren't counting on me, it's better for me. I'll just surprise them. I'll just do my thing. If I win, there going to have to talk about me."
There will be little surprise if Kanaan does well at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27 - people are already talking about him.
The popular Brazilian driver narrowly missed earning the AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award on May 12 and is considered one of the front-runners for the Indianapolis 500.
Kanaan's four-lap run was the fastest of the five Andretti Green Racing entries, and it put him in the middle of the front row.
"I can't be too disappointed (that I didn't win the pole), because I'm on the front row for the Indianapolis 500," said Kanaan, who has never qualified worse than fifth in his previous 500s. "I know I have a good race car."
Now the focus turns to turning a good race car into a solid contender for the race win. Kanaan has led the "500" every year he's been in the race and has finished in the top 10 four times. He says the formula for having a good car on Race Day is simple.
"You need to stay focused and be smart during the month as you're setting up your car for the race," he said. "You can't get carried away by speed, which easily happens. You have to take it one day at the time."
If Kanaan can follow that formula successfully, then the 2004 IndyCar Series champion would add what he said would be the biggest win of his career.
"It would be really special. If you ask anyone that question, they would say (winning the Indianapolis 500) would be very special," he said. "It would be one more thing to add to my resume. After winning a championship, that's the one thing that's missing. It will be very good. I can't describe how good that would feel."