Tony Kanaan: I will drive with the plan to ... celebrate with my closest 400,000 friends
As I take my final ride in the Indianapolis 500 and racing in IndyCar, I want to say obrigado. I’ve always said that race car drivers are nothing without the fans who support us, and that was felt at my core when I announced my first retirement in 2020 and then raced in an empty IMS. I just couldn’t walk away after a race like that — empty grandstands and infield, no roar of the crowd, and an absence of what makes the Indy 500 so special: you, the fans who help make it the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
You have been with me through the highs and lows of my racing career and all the moments in between. I love to race, I was born to do it, and I’ve fought hard to get where I am today, but it is because of all of you that makes it so hard to race my final lap in the NTT IndyCar series. It’s because of you that my family and I love to call Indianapolis home. You have given me the warmest welcome, and on the track or off, I’m always amazed by the incredible support you’ve shown me over my 27 years in this series.
Since announcing my retirement, I’ve been overwhelmed by the letters I have received and the stories I’ve heard from fans. Those letters and the memories you share mean the world to me, and I will never forget many of those memories. Those moments mean just as much to me as they do for you.
Making the decision to announce the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 as my last wasn’t easy, but it’s one that I feel good about. I will miss it, of course, but I’m at peace with it. I can promise you that I will drive with the plan to chug milk on race day, ready to celebrate with my closest 400,000 friends as I close out my final chapter in IndyCar.
You’ve asked me what I plan to do next year for race day? Well, I hope to be with you, taking it all in from the grandstands, experiencing this special place in a different way, soaking up every moment as a fan myself.
But first, I have one thing to focus on, and that’s driving the race of a lifetime.