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From the archives: The 2013 Indianapolis 500 – Tony Kanaan’s emotional victory

The 2013 running of the Indianapolis 500 produced a record-breaking race and a remarkable winning story

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The 2013 running of the Indianapolis 500 saw one of the best Brickyard races of all time, as Brazilian Tony Kanaan finally broke his luckless streak at the circuit by taking the win at the 12th time of asking.

His story was a triumph of persistence and determination, and one that will go down in Indy 500 folklore.

After leading the race in each of the previous eight Indy 500 events, the popular driver failed to win any of them, leaving him — and his fans — wondering if he’d ever land the victory in America’s biggest race.

But Kanaan broke that streak in 2013 in a record-breaking race that was matched only by the remarkable story that inspired him to victory.

Nine years beforehand, when Kanaan was the defending IndyCar series champion, he was told about the plight of a girl called Andrea Brown, who was preparing for life-or-death brain surgery at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis during Indy 500 week.

The driver made time in his testing and qualifying schedule to visit Andrea in hospital, giving her his lucky charm, a small medallion he carried in his race suit whenever he raced. He told her it helped him win the IndyCar title and it would bring her good luck with her operation.

Andrea’s surgery was successful, and nine years later, after hearing about Kanaan’s dreadful run of luck at Indy, she sent the driver his medallion via overnight delivery to ensure it reached him at the circuit before the start of the race.

Kanaan was overcome with emotion after opening the package, seeing the medallion and reading the message: “Here’s your good luck charm back. You take it and win the Indianapolis 500.”

Kanaan tucked the medallion into his race suit, jumped into his car and did just that, taking the win in one of the most memorable races in the Indy 500’s 97-year history.

Records tumbled as Kanaan recorded the fastest finishing time in Indy 500 history in a race that saw an incredible 68 lead changes, doubling the previous record set 12 months earlier.

It was an incredible race that helped put the seal on an incredible story.

The 2018 running of the Indianapolis 500 takes place this Sunday, May 27. Fans in the UK can watch the action live on BT Sport 1 from 3:30pm.

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 19 years’ experience in the UK's national media covering major sporting events including the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Olympic Games, UFC world title fights, The Grand National and The FA Cup Final.

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