Tony Kanaan (born December 31, 1974) is a Brazilian race car driver of Lebanese heritage from Salvador, Brazil. Kanaan was the 1997 Indy Lights champion, driving in the ChampCar World Series, initially for Tasman. He raced for Mo Nunn's start-up team for three years before moving on to the Indy Racing League where he won the championship in 2004 for Andretti Green Racing, while completing every lap raced in his championship year, finishing top 5 in all but the season-opener. In 2005 he placed second in the championship to his teammate Dan Wheldon. In September 2005 he tested a Formula 1 car with the BAR-Honda Team at Jerez as a reward for his 2004 IRL championship in a Honda powered car.
Shortly after the end of the 2005 IRL season in October, Kannan participated in a segment promoting sponsor 7-Eleven's new P'Eatzza sandwich, to be unveiled in April 2006, as part of a task on the US Series 5 of The Apprentice. Synergy had Kannan eating the sandwich in the car in a photo shoot for flyers distributed to college students. (Synergy won the task.)
In 2006 he is still driving in IRL for Andretti Green, and associate sponsor Hershey's had him participate in an updated version of a classic Reese's Caramel commercial for the Caramel Cup brand with a driver in NASCAR who has a win at Indy (something Kannan aspires to do). 2003 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Kevin Harvick, who drives the #29 Reese's Chevrolet in selected races (including the Allstate 400, one of 13 races where Hershey's brands replaces GM Goodwrench as primary sponsor), is walking down a street, listening to music on an iPod, bumps into Kannan, who is holding a jar of caramel. Harvick's Reese's cup is dipped into a jar of caramel held by Kannan. Happy responds, "You got your caramel into my Reese's."
Throughout his racing career, Kanaan has worked with performance scientist and consultant Dr. Jacques Dallaire, on physical and mental testing and to improve conditioning.
Kanaan is good friend of Brazilian Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello, and they exchanged helmets for the events in May 28, 2006. Barrichello wore Kanaan's helmet livery during the Monaco GP and Kanaan wore Rubens's one during the Indy 500.
Champcar career results
|2000||Mo Nunn Racing||0||24||19th|
|2001||Mo Nunn Racing||0||93||9th|
|2002||Mo Nunn Racing||0||99||12th|
1 win, 0 championships
IndyCar career results
|2002||Mo Nunn Racing||0||2||50th|
|2006||Andretti-Green Racing||1||309||6th (in progress)|
7 Wins, 1 Championship
Indy 500 results
0 wins, 1 pole