Tony Kanaan spent the final practice before the Indianapolis 500 talking to the race track.
He wanted to be kind to the old lady, to land in her good graces before the historic 100th running of “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing.”
“I think this track will pick the winner. Whatever she picks, it’s going to be a very lucky guy,” Kanaan said Friday after landing atop the leaderboard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I’m trying to massage the track a little bit, talk to her nicely and then see if she will pick me on Sunday.”
Kanaan has led a total of 715 miles around the sprawling speedway, but it took him 12 tries to win the checkered flag. That 2013 victory was the most important of his career and the Brazilian is eager to try for another in front of the first capacity crowd in the history of a race that was first run in 1911. There could be more than 350,000 people on hand on what is expected to be a warm, sunny day that will be marked by celebration.
“I’m so humbled to be part of this, I’ve always wanted to be in this race since I was a little kid,” he said. “I never really came to this place until I raced in 2002, so I haven’t experienced what it’s like when this place is sold out. I’ve been here for 15 years and I’ve never, never seen anything like this. I hope it’s the big jump we need to bring the 500 back to where it belongs.”
This centennial running has turned a special event into a once-in-a-lifetime experience. At least 100,000 fans poured into the speedway Friday for Carb Day, the traditional final day of practice. Everyone wants to be part of the show, and every driver wants to win this race.
Joey Logano has shown he has a pretty good feel for the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.
Now the question is whether he can go the distance – 600 miles, that is.
Logano looks to complete a “Joey sweep” at CMS at the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night after winning last October’s 400-mile playoff race and the Sprint Cup All-Star race here last weekend.
The 26-year-old will start on the front row alongside pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. for the longest and most grueling NASCAR race of the year.
He’s hoping the momentum from winning the All-Star race carries over after his previous three Sprint Cup races ended with crashes.
“It is nice to break through after three tough weekends and be able to break through and get that first victory of the year,” Logano said. “Even though it was the All-Star Race and it didn’t count for points, we really want to win this Coca-Cola 600.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.