Tony Kanaan, the Brazilian driver who took this year's Indy 500, is a lunchpail racer. By that, I mean he's just as involved with the day-to-day operations of the team, KV Racing Technology, as he is with driving the car. You can learn a lot from a guy like that.

This week on /SHAKEDOWN, Leo Parente interviews Kanaan about building a winning team from scratch, his definition of luck, the "mental math" it takes to win the Indy 500, his friendship with the late Dan Wheldon, how Rubens Barrichello taught him to find a bathroom and his frustrating, often-shaky relationship with IndyCar racing.

Why the frustration for Kanaan? Imagine holding the record for non-winning Indy 500 laps led, at 221, and never converting that into a checkered flag. Indeed, this win was a long time coming. The closest he'd come before this year was second to Buddy Rice back in '04.


Even if you don't plan to watch another Indy race this season, you need to get to know Tony Kanaan, if only because he's a racer who speaks his mind. That's the freedom you get when you're they guy out there making it rain.