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IndyCar Indy 500

Kanaan: Final Indy 500 will be "all or nothing" for McLaren

Tony Kanaan says his approach to this Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 will be “all or nothing” as he embarks on his final IndyCar race with Arrow McLaren.

Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Kanaan, 48, has pledged to retire after his 22nd Indy 500 start on Sunday, having returned for a one-off race with McLaren after finishing third with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2022.

That was his only IndyCar start last year in a career that began back in the CART days in 1998 in America's premier open-wheel series.

He won the Indy 500 with KV Racing Technology in 2013 and was the 2004 IndyCar Series champion with Andretti Green Racing.

Kanaan will start the 107th running of the 500 in eighth place after a dramatic final run in Saturday's qualifying session put him through to the Top 12 shootout.

"It was a roller coaster of emotion," he said. "It was one of my best qualifying efforts on Saturday, which is amazing, coincidence and all, save the best for last, but we were out all day long.

"I said, 'I'm not happy. I've got to give these people some excitement'. I said, 'We're either going to make it or we're going to not come back on four wheels.' And we made it.

"It's all or nothing. At the end of the day, if something bad happens, Zak [Brown, McLaren Racing boss] cannot fire me because I'm done anyways."

Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

Kanaan revealed that he had made a bet with his engineers that, if he made it to the second day of qualifying runs, he'd return to the garage in Gasoline Alley wearing just his Speedos.

"Before I left for my last attempt on Saturday, I was in the engineering room, and I said, 'If I put it in the top 12 I'm going to walk back here in my underwear only.' So they made me do that.

"I showed up, I opened the engineering room [door] and my suit was all the way down, and the room just went bananas, but yeah – a bet is a bet."

Kanaan says he won't approach his final start any differently than his previous 21 efforts at Indy.

"This is a race that we all want to win," he said. "I'm going to leave it all out there, and if that's good enough to win, fine.

"If it's not, actually probably for the first time, I won't be sad, because I won't be [thinking] 'I've got to do it next year'.

"I will be trying to enjoy it with all my friends and family and fans."

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