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Indy 500 Champ Tony Kanaan on Go-Karting

Reigning Indy 500 champ Tony Kanaan made news over the weekend by signing with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2014 IndyCar season. We caught up with Kanaan to talk go-karting, triathlons, and raising a kid to be a racing driver.

Although you’re an IndyCar driver, you still love go-karting. How does karting compare to your day job?

Well, there are two things. We don’t drive the race cars as much as we used to because of the costs. In IndyCar especially, they have limited testing. The best workout for a race car driver is to drive, and it’s go-karting that gives you that. So, that’s No. 1. As far as reflexes and reaction, karting is the quickest thing you have in racing, to be honest. It’s even quicker than an IndyCar, because it’s so short and so little. [And] that’s what I grew up doing, you know? It’s like a hobby. It’s something that I did since I was a kid, and it’s fun and relaxing for me. Now I can go back to the go-kart track and don’t have the pressure that I used to have as a kid.

Tell me about your kid. Is he passionate about racing? Do you think he wants to pursue it in the future?

Right now, if you ask him, yes. He grew up around racing, he thinks racing is cool, he thinks it’s cool to have a helmet with the same [design] as me, and so he wants to do it. I started when I was 8, and he’s 6 right now. I think as a parent, you’ve got to guide your kid for what he wants to do, and give him some guidance. If that’s what he wants to do when he grows up, I’m going to explain to him the pros and the cons, how hard it’s going to be for him, with the last name that he’s going to have, because it’s inevitable that people are going to compare. I kind of feel bad for him at times about that, but who knows? He might be a lot better than his dad.

But I’m not the kind of parent that’s going to push him just because it’s what I do. It’s what he wants to do, you know? He’s going to have choices and if that’s what he wants to do, I know exactly how to do it, so I’m going to tell him, like my dad told me, “Okay, this is what you want?” “Well, then this is how it’s going to get done.”

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Source from Popular Mechanics By Basem Wasef

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