Kanaan savors image on Indianapolis 500 trophy

Tony Kanaan gave his nose a little scratch on the tip, then a

quick kiss.

He had already kissed the bricks as the Indianapolis 500 winner.

It was time to plant one on his image on the Borg-Warner

Trophy.

Kanaan was honored this week as the latest Indy 500 winner

immortalized on the trophy awarded to the winner of the IndyCar

Series’ most prestigious race. He won his first Indy 500 in his

12th career start at the Brickyard in May.

”The guy did a better job than I thought,” Kanaan said at

Monday’s unveiling ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall

of Fame Museum.

Kanaan went nose-to-nose with the trophy and got a laugh at how

much it stuck out.

”I love it,” he said. ”It actually looks better than myself

right now. They did a good job, and it’s staying there forever, so

it’s a good thing.”

He’s the 100th different face on the trophy, joining drivers

such as Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt.

It’s fitting that Kanaan’s likeness goes on the Borg-Warner

trophy after the late Dan Wheldon and recently retired Dario

Franchitti, two of his closest friends. He made several

self-deprecating mentions after winning in May of ”his ugly face”

and ”big nose” finally making it onto the trophy.

”Growing up seeing all the big names winning, and then lately

having my two best friends Dan and Dario winning and putting my

face right beside them is an honor,” Kanaan said. ”To have the

three of us in a row is like somebody had a script a long time ago,

and they said that this is what’s going to happen. With such a

tragic end of Dan’s career and with Dario retiring, it’s an honor

to be right beside them.”

Kanaan, and KV Racing Technologies team owners Jimmy Vasser and

Kevin Kalkhoven will receive their ”Baby Borg” trophies in

January.

So much has changed for Kanaan since he won at Indy. He’s off to

Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2014.

Kanaan, the fourth Brazilian driver to have his image on the

trophy, posted an Indy 500 winning speed of 187.431 mph that

bettered the previous record of 185.981 set by Arie Luyendyk in

1990. Kanaan ended 12 years of frustration when he finally won in

May, thousands of fans screaming, ”TK! TK! TK!” on that long,

final lap.

The glow from that milestone win still hasn’t faded.

”I was always nice to the track, and I could never understand

why she wouldn’t pick me,” Kanaan said. ”I always obeyed the

rules and tried to be nice.”

The Borg-Warner Trophy debuted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in

1936 with the 24 faces of the drivers who had previously won the

event. There is one non-driver on the trophy, Tony Hulman, who

purchased the track in 1945 and was the owner until he died in

1977.