Breaking News
More () »

Milk and Cookies: First cars and Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan tells his trick for learning English

Before it was a bad idea to share food, Dave Calabro pulled out the milk and cookies for a chat with the champions.

AUSTIN, Texas — IndyCar drivers come from all over the world and speak a variety of languages. Dave Calabro was a little surprised to learn what helped Tony Kanaan learn English.

He got the answer when he spent some time with the drivers in February when they were getting ready for the racing season to start. So before COVID-19 and before it was a bad idea to share food, Dave Calabro pulled out the milk and cookies for a chat with the champions. He even managed to ask one driver the one question he wasn’t allowed to answer!


Dave: Are you superstitious?

Two-time IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden: No. Not at all. Some people are really particular, which is so much fun.

Dave: You mess with them?

Newgarden: Oh yeah. I love it.

Dave: Like, Helio [Castroneves]. I’m thinking he’s…

Newgarden: Helio’s very particular. He’s like very suave. He wants his hair done. He gets it dyed at the right point in the month. Like probably four days out, I think he gets that re-dyed.

Dave: I think Simon’s probably a little quirky, too…. I mean, I’m just guessing.

Newgarden: I want to be friendly to my teammates.

Dave: I’m just saying… right?

Newgarden: I think… I know there's a lot going on there. There is a lot.

First car

Dave: What was the first car you drove on a regular basis?

2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi: Can’t answer that.

Dave: Why not?

Rossi: I literally… It's the opposite of the manufacturer I drove for.

Dave: Oh.

Rossi: So that's literally the one question I can't answer.

Dave: So when you're 16, you drove a car for another…

Rossi: Another person. People.

Dave: Yeah, but it was a piece of junk, right?

Rossi: Garbage.

Favorite song

Dave: Name your favorite song.

2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan: My favorite song. I'm a huge Garth Brooks fan. So… uh.

Dave: Tony Kanaan’s a Garth Brooks fan?

Kanaan: "The Dance." The Dance.

Dave: What’s that? I don’t know it.

Kanaan: It’s a..

Dave: You can sing it.

Kanaan: No, I can’t sing it.

Dave: I didn't have you pegged as a country guy.

Kanaan: Yeah. That's how I learned how to speak English. And when I first came here, I used to watch all day long… I used to watch CMT. Country songs are very easy to understand because they talk about somebody that lost their wife or lost their girlfriend or got dumped. And I used to listen to the closed caption, and that's how I start to pick words and speaking freely.

Dave: Name your favorite song.

2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud: Favorite song. "Red Red Wine."

Dave: Can you sing it?

Pagenaud: "Red red wine." There's "Three Little Birds" too from Bob Marley, you know. "Three little birds, on my doorstep."

Real world job

Dave: If you weren't racing and you didn't have a full time racing job, what would be your job?

2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon: Let's just say I'm lucky that this thing worked out, you know. I could be a model, but you know, I kind of gave those days up early. I didn’t want to, you know, take advantage of that.

Before You Leave, Check This Out