INDIANAPOLIS – Although he’s raced in both Rio (1998 to 2000) and Sao Paulo (2010 to 2013), Tony Kanaan was welcoming the opportunity to race in Brasilia this March.
And then, within a day, it all went away for reasons outside INDYCAR’s control.
When asked his immediate reaction, Kanaan deadpanned, “Awesome! Couldn’t have come at a better time.”
But the mood quickly turned serious, as you might expect.
“It’s disappointing. I mean, I’ve lived there my entire life and I knew it was a possibility,” Kanaan said during INDYCAR Media Day in Indianapolis.
“My biggest concern was how this was going to affect the series. I guess Mark Miles and his team did a great job protecting that, which at least on that matter I think he explained here couple minutes ago.”
Kanaan admitted he lost some sponsorship as a result.
“It’s a big disappointment. I think everybody got caught by surprise,” he said. “I worry about the fans that got disappointed. I worry about the TV station. They got a lot of stake in the race, got caught by surprise as well. We sold a bunch of tickets. A lot of sponsorship went away with it as well on my end.”
Here was Miles’ take on the Brasilia cancellation:
“Just a comment on the Brasilia situation. You’re right, it had to do with the changing of elections, politics between a national and regional federal district of Brasilia governments. It wasn’t lost on us they were on schedule and invested an enormous amount of money already in the improvement of that track.
“To be clear, I don’t like it happening. I think we kind of protected ourselves.”
For Kanaan, he said the series did what they could, which was almost nothing.
“It’s so disappointing. Nothing I can do about it. Nothing the series can do about it. Nothing even the TV, that was the promoter, could do about it. It was a lot higher than that,” he said.
“It’s hard to swallow, hard to understand, and extremely disappointing. I don’t know. I don’t know what else to say. A big disappointment in my country of what they’ve done for us.”