Tony Kanaan’s son Leo receives “Mini Baby Borg” from BorgWarner

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As the latest event in the post-Indianapolis 500 victory tour, Tony Kanaan and KV Racing Technology team co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser all received their “Baby Borgs” from BorgWarner on Wednesday night in Detroit. The “Baby Borg” is a small-size scale of the iconic, legendary Borg-Warner Trophy that all winning drivers and team owners receive.

But what “TK” didn’t know there was a special surprise coming: a “Mini Baby Borg,” the first of its kind in a one-off creation for Tony’s 6-year-old son Leonardo. That was the emotional, heartwarming, best part of the night as now the father-and-son team had matching father-and-son “Baby Borgs.”

“Oh it was big time … of course, I was prepared to give my own Baby Borg away to my son,” Tony Kanaan explained in a phone interview last night. “But BorgWarner came with this big surprise, and now my son has two trophies. He’s extremely excited. It was an emotional moment for me regardless, and then when they brought that up, it was difficult to hold my emotions.”

Kanaan said he was almost “relieved” he’d be able to keep his own Baby Borg, but delighted nonetheless.

Since winning his elusive first Indianapolis 500 last May, Kanaan embarked on the post-victory media tour, had his face engraved on the actual BorgWarner Trophy, and now has his Baby Borg. Of all the post-winning activities, this immediately moved to the top of the list.

“Nothing’s gonna top what happened tonight. Obviously it’s my son – we dedicated the win to him,” he said. “Tonight will top it big time. It’s the first time BorgWarner has done something like this – which is trouble going forward, but it’s not my problem now!”

Kanaan had a friendly joke too at his good friend, and driver he’ll be replacing in the No. 10 Target Chevrolet for Target Chip Ganassi Racing this year, Dario Franchitti.

“It’s awesome … I can’t thank those guys enough for what they’ve done. It shows how supportive they are, and them being the official trophy since ’47?… ’36 here we go. So as long as Dario’s been alive, he was born in ’35. It’s good to be as enthusiastic as we are for what we do. The whole story makes it extremely special.”

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)