Tony Kanaan’s right arm was one of the most popular parts of Verizon IndyCar Series Media Day on Feb. 2.
Journalists and photographers were curious about Kanaan’s new tattoo, created late last year in 12 hours in Sao Paulo by world-class Swedish tattoo artist Niki Norberg. Kanaan spent much of his time at Media Day getting in and out of his shirt for photos and explaining the new ink.
Included in the design are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s yard of bricks, the Borg-Warner Trophy – a symbol of his 2013 Indianapolis 500 win – hands and feet of his sons, Leo and Deco, his children’s birthdays and the date he wed his wife, Lauren.
“It is all of my big life achievements until now,” he said, “and the bricks,” referring to the yard of bricks at the IMS start-finish line.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about the tattoo. Some are opposed to tattoos in general, but even they can appreciate the meaning and workmanship, he said. Others, like Kanaan, love ink. His body is adorned with a total of nine tattoos.
The people Kanaan cares about most, Lauren and his sons, are in the “love it” category. Lauren, in fact, helped design the piece and is thrilled by the results.
“Leo loves it. He hates the one I have on (the left arm),” Kanaan said. “It’s a skull and he’s never liked it. This one, he’s like, ‘Wow,’ which is cool.”
Norberg and Kanaan share mutual respect. The tattoo artist is so sought after that he has a waiting list years long. But he’s a racing fan, so Kanaan moved through the line quickly.
In May, Kanaan hopes to convince Norberg to visit for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. The artist could see the Borg-Warner and the bricks in person and learn more about why Kanaan wanted to make them a visible part of his body.
IMS Productions was fortunate to spend time with Tony and his family in South Florida during the offseason and will shadow TK during INDYCAR's return to Phoenix International Raceway in early April. He will be the subject of the first of five INDYCAR Chronicles, debuting later this season. The Tony Kanaan show will air on Saturday, April 16th at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.
As a teaser to Kanaan's episode, here is Tony providing us a more detailed explanation of his new tattoo here.