INDIANAPOLIS — Tony Kanaan had one more lap, one anticlimactic last lap under the yellow caution flag, to end 12 years of frustration in the Indianapolis 500.
He flipped up his visor to wipe away tears as the crowd roared its approval, and then in Victory Lane gave his bride of two months a long kiss and poured the celebratory winner’s milk over his head.
Kanaan is Indy’s hard-luck loser no more. He is its champion at last, fittingly with a dose of good luck for a change.
“I have to say, the last lap was the longest lap of my life,” Kanaan said.
It was one of Indy’s most popular victories.
The losers were pleased with the outcome, evidenced by a scene similar to rivals lining up to congratulate Dale Earnhardt when he finally won the Daytona 500 on his 20th try. Dario Franchitti, whose crash brought out tsahe race-ending caution, stood grinning by his crumpled car, two thumbs up as Kanaan passed under yellow.
“When I saw who was leading, it cheered me up a little bit,” said Franchitti, last year’s winner. “He’s a very, very deserving winner.”
The fans thought so, too, standing on their feet, screaming “TK! TK! TK!” as he and team owner Jimmy Vasser went by during the traditional victory lap. It felt magical to Kanaan, like he had given the crowd at Indianapolis Motor Speedway a gift.
“It means a lot to me because so many people, I could feel that they wanted me to win, and it’s such a selfish thing to do because what are they getting from it?” Kanaan said. “I’m the one who gets the trophy. I believed that this win was more for people out there than for me.
“I wanted it all my life, but over the years I was kind of OK with the fact that I may never have the chance to win.”
His chance came at the end of a history-making race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Kanaan knew he had to pounce at the green flag for the final restart with three laps to go. He did, zipping inside leader Ryan Hunter-Reay to roar to the lead.
Harvick pulls away to win Coca-Cola 600
CONCORD, N.C. — Kevin Harvick isn’t done surprising people at Charlotte Motor Speedway or Richard Childress Racing.
Closing a bizarre night in NASCAR’s longest event, Harvick pulled away from Kasey Kahne on a restart Sunday with 11 laps left to win the Coca-Cola 600 for the second time in three seasons.
The race was stopped nearly 30 minutes at one point when a TV camera support rope snapped and landed on the track and in the grandstands. There were 10 people hurt, according to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Three were taken to hospitals, and have been treated and released.
It’s Harvick’s final season at RCR — the only team he’s known since filling the seat of the late Dale Earnhardt in 2001 — before he swifts to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.