SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Kevin Kalkhoven, who won the 2013 Indianapolis 500 as a team owner to highlight a distinguished career in auto racing, died Tuesday at the age of 77.
Kalkhoven's first Indy 500 win was also the first 500 win for fan favorite Tony Kanaan, who drove his KV Racing Technology-SH Racing Chevrolet to victory lane. Kalkhoven co-owned the winning team with CART champion Jimmy Vasser.
Kalkhoven owned race teams for more than a decade in both the Champ Car and IndyCar series. In 2003, he was part of a team that purchased the assets of CART and created the Champ Car World Series. Five years later, he worked with then-IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George to unify North American open-wheel racing following a 12-year split.
“Motorsports has lost one of its true leaders," IMS and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a statement. "Kevin Kalkhoven had a great passion for open-wheel racing, and his vision and support helped guide the sport through some turbulent times. As a leader of the Champ Car World Series, Cosworth Engineering and the KV Racing Technology team, Kevin had an incredible impact on INDYCAR. Our thoughts are with the Kalkhoven family and Kevin’s many friends and colleagues that are coping with his loss.”
A native Australian, Kalkhoven was a successful business executive in fiber-optic telecommunications networks and as a venture capitalist before he got involved in racing. His notable philanthropic work included serving on the board of directors of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps, benefitting children with serious illnesses.