(WXYZ) - Few IndyCar drivers have experienced the ups and downs of Belle Isle more than Tony Kanaan.
The Brazilian IndyCar star won the 2007 race, but also experienced one of his lowest moments in professional racing. During a practice run in 2000, Kanaan crashed hard into the wall, breaking seven ribs and his left arm, while also suffering a concussion.
He didn’t start in 2001 either after a qualifying crash took him out of the weekend.
Kanaan’s fortunes changed in 2007, when the IndyCar series returned to Belle Isle. This time, he benefitted from a crash, as he finished the race in first place under a caution flag.
Five years later, Kanaan is eager to return to Motown.
I spoke with Tony extensively today and will share parts of that conversation with you as we continue to gear up for race weekend.
Our Mary Conway also caught up with Kanaan today and found him brimming with his characteristic excitement.
“Detroit is the Motor City. To me it didn’t make sense not to have an IndyCar race here,” said Kanaan. “I think with the comeback of Chevrolet, with the involvement of Roger Penske in racing, it would be not fair not to have a race here. I’m extremely excited about it. I think the track looks fabulous and the last time we were here we had so many people watching us. There were 100,000 people at the track so it means a lot.”
Bud Denker, the Chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, has been working non-stop to make the Grand Prix weekend a thrilling memory for the fans in Michigan, Ontario and beyond.
“Someone coming to the race for the first time is going to hear, going to feel, going to sense everything going on,” said Denker. “Obviously, wonderful excitement. Four different races going on that weekend, from 8 o’clock til 7 o’clock, Friday through Sunday, something going on on the racetrack and also great entertainment.
“B-52’s in the concert. Ronnie Dunn from Brooks and Dunn in concert and also, of course, our own Mitch Ryder in concert on Friday night.
WXYZ is the official station of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Stay with us and bookmark the sports page at WXYZ.com for the latest racing headlines as the Indy Car Series returns to Michigan for the first time since 2008.
The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will be run Sunday, June 3 and aired live on WXYZ.
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