For a long time the 45-year-old Brazilian has been a crowd favorite, emanating from his consistently poor luck at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before finally nailing victory in the Indy 500 with KV Racing in 2013. Subsequently he has still raised some of the biggest cheers during driver introductions to raceday crowds, so when the COVID-19 pandemic caused spectators to be banned from several events and restricted in number to others, it meant Kanaan’s opportunities to interact with fans during his oval-only program in 2020 was heavily reduced.
Therefore, having announced preseason that 2020 would be the last time he competed at any IndyCar race except the Indy 500, mentally he has now modified his intentions. For 2021, he said, his ideal scenario would see him on track for all oval races again.
“I have to be realistic, right?” Kanaan told media on Sunday evening. “For my liking, I think it’s not fair that I would go out this way. It’s not fair for my fans. It’s not fair for me. But it’s easier said than done.
“Today I approached the race as if it was my last race. I have nothing for next year. I have no sponsor. I have no team. Everybody that was involved with me knew about my decision. Obviously I changed my mind.
“It’s going to be a challenge. It’s going to be a challenge to try to see…