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IndyCar Indy 500

Kanaan, Castroneves battled over 15th in Indy 500 like it was “for the win”

Helio Castroneves beat retiring IndyCar rival Tony Kanaan to finish 15th in Sunday's Indianapolis 500 after battling on the final restart like it was “for the win,” according to Kanaan.

Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Kanaan called time on his open-wheel racing career last weekend with his 390th start in US open-wheel racing since his graduation to Champ Car in 1998.

He agreed a one-race deal with Arrow McLaren to make a 22nd Indy 500 appearance after finishing third with Chip Ganassi Racing last season.

The 2004 IndyCar champion and 2013 Indy 500 winner bows out with a total of 17 wins at the premier level in America.

Childhood friends Kanaan and four-times Indy 500-winning compatriot Castroneves found themselves racing for 15th position and relived the experience on Monday night’s Victory Celebration banquet.

“It’s my last race, and with two laps to go, I’m 15th and I thought ‘alright, let’s try a TK restart’ and I asked who was behind me,” said Kanaan.

“I hear ‘Helio’. I’m like ‘no, that can’t be right man, we’re not going to do this now’…”

Turning to the audience, he said to Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden: “Josef, the way you raced [Marcus] Ericsson for the win, we raced for 15th! And with no mercy.

“I’m like ‘waaaaah, he might let me do it this time?’ No! He passed me on the restart and blocked me into Turn 3.”

Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

They finished just 0.2527s apart at the checkered flag.

Meyer-Shank Racing driver Castroneves added: “That was very special by the way, amazing. We started together, and then suddenly we were together again at the end on the last lap.

“We’ve talked about our pact when we were kids, that whoever made it, the other would carry their helmet bag. So Tony’s going to carry my helmet next year! I’ll pay him the minimum wage!

“But it was very special, saluting Tony on the in-lap, it was like old times in go-kart day.

“Not only a great friend, an incredible competitor, an incredible person.”

Kanaan said earlier this year after announcing his retirement plans that he will miss IndyCar racing "every day of my life", but intends to explore opportunities in other disciplines such as sportscars.

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