Tony Kanaan's Indy 500 Win Relieves Financial Pressure On KV Racing Team
Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan on Monday said that KV Racing Technology co-Owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser "went into Indianapolis unsure if they'd finish the season" due to a lack of sponsorship, according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. However, Kanaan's win, which comes with a $2.3M windfall, has "relieved the financial burden" on the team. Kanaan had been "piecing together corporate support since right before the season opener when the team announced Hydroxycut had signed on for nine races." That deal "left five unsponsored" races for the team. Kanaan said, "The past three years I've been working extremely hard, probably even harder than driving the car, to find the sponsorship to keep surviving. I hope this win helps me a little bit more, makes it easier to either find a sponsorship or maybe get back on a team that is well-funded. I'm not saying we're going to make the same money we used to make, because these are different times. But I would like to have a little bit less pressure on my side, to just really concentrate on driving." Fryer noted KV signed him "shortly before the 2011 season opener when sponsorship materialized." Kanaan was "out of a job at the time because his sponsorship at Andretti Autosport had gone away, and a plan to drive for a new team started by fellow Brazilian Gil de Ferran fell apart because of a lack of funding" (AP, 5/27). ESPN.com's John Oreovicz wrote although he already is one of IndyCar's "most recognizable stars, the Indianapolis victory should boost Kanaan's public profile even more." Kanaan said, "If it helps the series, that's awesome. I've been extremely popular here for so many years. And it was a great race. Now we just need to keep it steady" (ESPN.com, 5/28).