Indianapolis 500-winning team owner Kalkhoven dies at 77

IndyCar

FILE – In this May 27, 2013, file photo, Tony Kanaan, of Brazil, center, poses with car owners Jimmy Vasser, left, and Kevin Kalkhoven during the tradition photo session for the winner of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. Former CART champion Jimmy Vasser has shut down his IndyCar team after 14 years and seven victories, including the 2013 Indianapolis 500. KV Racing Technology, owned by Australian businessman Kevin Kalkhoven and Vasser, announced the long-rumored move Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017.(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Kalkhoven, the team co-owner of Tony Kanaan’s Indianapolis 500-winning entry in 2013, died Tuesday. He was 77.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Kalkhoven’s death and did not detail a cause.

Kalkhoven was co-owner with Jimmy Vasser of the KV Racing Technology-SH Racing Chevrolet that Kanaan drove to an emotional victory.

Kalkhoven also played a major role in the reunification of North American open-wheel racing.

“Motorsports has lost one of its true leaders,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske said. “Kevin Kalkhoven had a great passion for open-wheel racing, and his vision and support helped guide the sport through some turbulent times.”

Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp., said he met Kalkoven in 2013.

“In many ways, winning that year’s Indianapolis 500 with Tony Kanaan must have been the highlight of his racing life. I’m sure he didn’t come back down to Earth for many months,” Miles said.

Kalkhoven fielded a team that earned seven victories between 2003-16 in the Champ Car World Series and the NTT IndyCar series.

Kalkhoven, a native of Adelaide, Australia, joined Gerald Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi to purchase the assets of the CART open-wheel racing series in 2003 and form the Champ Car World Series.

In February 2008, Kalkhoven and then-IndyCar series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George completed extensive negotiations that reunified North American open-wheel racing after 12 years of two competing series.

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