Tony Kanaan

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in," wrote folksy American author William Vaughan, "and a pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves."

Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan is among the former -- mainly because the stroke of midnight is the crescendo of his birthday.

Antoine Rizkallah Kanaan Filho was born Dec. 31, 1974, in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

"I always have a big party in Brazil," the first-year Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver said. "The only good thing about having a birthday on New Year's Eve is there's always a party. The bad part is you might not have all your friends with you because people make plans well in advance for New Year's Eve. I enjoy, but I'm not a big party guy. I stay up (for the new year); it's always been a celebration for me."

Pass along birthday greetings on Twitter @TonyKanaan