IndyCar: Happy 40th Birthday, Tony Kanaan

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Some people say once you turn 40 years old, you’re officially “over the hill.”

But those people clearly have never met Verizon IndyCar Series ironman Tony Kanaan, who today hits the big 4-0.

The Brazilian is now one of the sport’s most important figures. And with attributes such as a top-tier ride with Chip Ganassi Racing, a fan-friendly personality, and a tremendous devotion to physical fitness, he stands to keep that role in the years ahead.

Up to now, Kanaan’s accolades have been numerous but three in particular stand out.

There’s his 2004 series title with Andretti Green Racing (now Andretti Autosport), which saw him make history as the first driver ever to complete all possible laps in a season (3,305) en route to winning the championship.

Nine years later, Kanaan paired his series crown with a long-awaited victory in the Indianapolis 500 – a victory that ranks among the most popular in the long history of the fabled race.

And also occurring during the 2013 season was him becoming the all-time consecutive starts leader in IndyCar history. The streak now stands at 233 races, a stretch that goes all the way back to the CART race at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway in 2001.

Kanaan endured a slow start to his inaugural season with Chevy-powered Chip Ganassi Racing in 2014, but he and CGR found their rhythm during the summer.

Then, in the season finale at Auto Club Speedway this past August, Kanaan finally broke through for his first win with the team.

It was a perfect way to end the year, and with CGR now having a season’s worth of experience with the Chevy engine, one figures that Kanaan can further build upon the momentum in 2015.

But for today, all he ought to worry about is getting the biggest slice of cake. Happy Birthday, TK.