From there, he cruised to victory lane under the yellow caution flag, flipping up his visor to wipe tears from his eyes as the crowd roared.

"I have to say, the last lap was the longest lap of my life," the popular Brazilian said.

"I got a little bit of luck today," said Kanaan, drenched in the celebratory milk. "I was looking at the stands, and it was unbelievable. I'm speechless. This is it, man. I made it."

Kanaan had his fair share of chances to win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but came up short time and time again. He was leading when the rain came in 2007, only to lose to Dario Franchitti when the race resumed.

In all, Kanaan went into Sunday's race with 221 laps led — more than any other non-winner except Michael Andretti and Rex Mays — but his second-place finish to Buddy Rice in 2004 was the closest he had come to victory. He had a pair of third-place finishes, including last year, again to Franchitti.

This time, it was Franchitti whose crash brought out the final caution to seal Kanaan's victory.

"It's wonderful for him," said Mario Andretti, himself a victim to bad luck at Indy. "He's raced here long enough that he deserves it, no question. He was strong all day. Certainly he deserves this in every way."

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