Saturday, May 09, 2009

Tony Kanaan Press Conference: Pole Day

Driver Tony Kanaan raised a few eyebrows with his unusual color scheme during his qualifying run on Pole Day. His Team 7-Eleven car had morphed from its usual green and white to looking like something my son designed with his Big Box O' Legos.

Tony qualified in his backup car, citing problems with his original car. So he hopped into Hideki Mutoh's backup car, stuck the 7-Eleven nose on the front (have to keep the sponsors happy, you know), and went for a ride.

When he was done, he was sitting in 7th place.

At the press conference, Kanaan said he was done racing for a few days. (Not so fast, Tony. Looks like you'll have to do it again.*) He's not happy with his position in the field — he's sitting in the middle of row 3 — but he's more interested in going home for a short break.


"I'm leaving Sunday to see my son for a few days," he said.

I talked with Kanaan after the press conference to ask him about his 19-month-old son. Does he bring him to the race?

"He usually comes along, but not this month, because it's a month-long event," said Kanaan. "He lives in Miami, the weather is great, and he's got his swimming to go to."

"Does he ever hang out with any of the other racers' kids?"

"Oh sure, we have (Dan) Carpenter's daughter that he hangs out with."

"Do you think your kids, Carpenter's daughter, other racing kids, will ever become racers when they get older? Is that their legacy, the same way it was for the Foyts and the Andrettis?"

Kanaan had to think about that for a minute.

"I don't know if I want him to race, but it's not my choice. It would be nice, but I don't know if I have the heart to worry about him."

After he left the media center, one of the security guards pointed something out to me.

"Look at that," said the guard. "A lot of racers go straight to the golf cart and go back to the garage. Tony went to his fans to sign autographs." I looked over, and sure enough, he was signing autographs for the small crowd of fans who had gathered outside the media center to catch a glimpse of their hero.


UPDATE
* As I was writing this post, they just announced that Tony's time was disallowed because his car did not pass the weight inspection. His car was too light.

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