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Kanaan presides over Great Bed Race
Tony Kanaan rolled out of bed early Sept. 5 to watch dozens of people roll into beds.

The 2004 IZOD IndyCar Series champion, who recorded a fourth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway a mere 12 hours earlier, served as the grand marshal for the 1-800-411 PAIN Great Grove Bed Race to benefit the Alonzo Mourning Charities and the University of Miami Sleep Center.

Grand and Commodore Avenues were transformed into Coconut Grove's 1/8th-mile drag strip, with four-person leg power replacing motors. Participants from 38 teams were hoping to grab first place in the theme, d├ęcor or racing time competitions in addition to having a bed full of fun for a good cause.

Kanaan, Homestead-Miami Speedway president Matthew Becherer and District 2 commissioner Marc Sarnoff were the judges. Kanaan also was the official starter for push-cart races (driving one, too) and was involved in other events.

The idea of propping beds on wheels and racing them dates to 1920 in the streets of England. Coconut Grove picked up on the idea 30 years ago, and after an eight-year hiatus, the city revived the event in 2009.

Kanaan, a Miami resident who posted his first IZOD IndyCar Series pole start at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2003, also was promoting the IZOD IndyCar Series season finale at track on Oct. 2.

"We're lucky to have Tony here in South Florida," Becherer said. "He has contributed so much to the success of the IndyCar Series, and his involvement with the bed race shows his commitment to the local community."

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