Tony Kanaan: IndyCar's Ironman

RTV6 at home with Tony Kanaan

MIAMI - IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan is a driver, husband, father and an ironman.

Kanaan will make his 12th attempt at winning the Indianapolis 500 next week, and the fans would love to see it happen.

If practice makes perfect, Kanaan should barely have a blemish.

At 38, he is now in his 16th season of IndyCar and not much is new to the 2004 series champion -- at least on the track.

Off the track, it is a different story. He married his longtime girlfriend Lauren Bohlander in the off-season and built a new home in south Florida.

By design, and agreement with his wife, there aren’t a lot of racing items in the house, but a one-of-a-kind helmet collection makes up for it.

“For the fans that are really hardcore fans in racing, when they see this, people are like whoa,” Kanaan said.

Kanaan displays the helmets like a who’s who of racing.

The Kanaans display an immaculate living room, family room and, of course, no home is complete without a pool and patio.

Although Miami is full of cafes and cruise ships, you will find Kanaan around the Rickenbacker Causeway, named after Eddie Rickenbacker , former owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It is there where he runs or bikes twice as much nowadays as ever before.

Down the road, he puts the home in Homestead and returns to his roots in Carney.

When asked how long he plans to continue racing, Kanaan laughed.

“The way I take care of myself, I can assure you that I can make it at least another 5 years. I’m fit, I keep working out. And not just for the race car. I think my wife appreciates it for sure,” Kanaan said.

It’s all with an eye toward Indy. Last year, he took the lead for the eighth time and he has now been out front for 221 laps.

“It’s awesome, you don’t see anybody, you are not following anybody. You are just in the lead and the place is yours. It’s the same sensation every time. You get into the lead and you just want to finish this race now,” Kanaan said.

Leading and winning are two different things. As Kanaan heads into his 12th Indy 500, the practice resumes dealing with twists and turns that so far haven’t allowed him to pull into Victory Lane.

For now, that’s fine. As Kanaan sees it, sometimes success isn’t measured by how people got there, but how they handle it when they don’t.

“I’m not trying to find an excuse. For me, I have so many great memories from this place without winning,” Kanaan said. “In 5 to 10 years from now when I retire, if there is a party for all the Indy 500 winners, I may not get to be there, but I might be hosting it.”

The only thing Kanaan worries about when it comes to his career is sponsorship, but he is always prepared to go the distance.

Follow Dave Furst on Twitter: @davefurst

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