Tony Kanaan's final Indianapolis 500 was highly enjoyable to him despite finishing in 16th place on Sunday.
The 2013 Indy champion announced earlier this year that the race would be his final one at the famed Brickyard.
"I was telling my wife that if we had won, it was probably going to be a big deal or a big problem, but probably better to finish 16th so people don't wonder like last year when we finished third -- 'Soooo? You're coming back?'" an emotional Kanaan said.
"What a day, what a race, the fans made me feel very special and I think I will take that forever. The coming back part? I don't think I want to spoil the moment that I had. I will come back here, but as a spectator."
The third-place finish last year was one of 12 top-10 finishes in 22 Indy 500 starts for Kanaan. It was his fifth top-three finish. He also finished second in 2004 and third in 2003, 2012.
Of course, few things in racing can be more memorable than winning the Indy 500. Kanaan's win in 2013 occurred when he overtook leader Ryan Hunter-Reay on a restart with three laps remaining and led the rest of the way.
The 48-year-old Brazilian also was known as the ironman of IndyCar, as he made a record 318 consecutive starts in a streak that started in June 2001 and continued through June 2020.
Kanaan also won the 2004 IndyCar Series championship. He posted 17 career victories.
"Hopefully I made a difference in this sport," Kanaan said. "I will always be an IndyCar driver. I will always be an Indy 500 winner."
--Field Level Media