Posted Monday, Jun. 10, 2013

By Amanda Rogers
arogers@mansfieldnewsmirror.com

Mansfield did everything but roll out the red carpet for Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan last week when the race car driver visited his sponsor, Mouser Electronics.

Mayor David Cook and Mouser CEO and President Glenn Smith picked up Kanaan and his wife, Lauren, at DFW Airport on Thursday in a helicopter and flew with them to the Mansfield plant, where they were met by two classic convertibles, the Legacy High School Marching Band and hundreds of Mouser employees and members of the community.

“I make a motion to make Tony and Lauren Kanaan honorary citizens of the city of Mansfield. Can I get a second?” Cook asked the crowd assembled in the parking lot of the North Main Street plant, and was answered by a roar of approval.

Cook went on to name June 6, 2013, as Tony Kanaan Day in Mansfield and give the driver the key to the city.

“Is that going to be a holiday?” Kanaan asked the mayor.

“I want to thank each one of you for your hard work, and I will keep up the hard work so we can keep having Tony Kanaan Days here in Mansfield,” he said, addressing the employees of Mouser, which has sponsored Indy teams for the past three years and Kanaan for two years.

Jimmy Vasser, owner of KV Racing Technology, agreed.

“You’re all part of the team,” he told the Mouser crowd. “We’ve got a lot of Mouser electronic parts in there. Hopefully, we’ll come back and do this again next year.”

Kanaan and Vasser were in the Metroplex for Saturday’s Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway, where Kanaan’s fellow Brazilian Helio Castroneves took the win while he finished third.

Kanaan, though, has to be still riding high on his first Indy 500 victory, which came in his 12th attempt.

“I started to cry in my helmet,” he admitted. “I had to lift my visor and wipe my eyes.

“Before you win (Indy), you’re a driver,” Kanaan said. “When you win it, you’re a legend.”

Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451 Twitter: @AmandaRogersNM

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/06/10/4925753/welcoming-a-champion.html#storylink=cpy