Top two 500 finishers have Greencastle ties
INDIANAPOLIS -- With the Indianapolis Motor Speedway less than 40 miles away from downtown Greencastle, Putnam County residents have accurately always felt close to the Indianapolis 500.
On Sunday Putnam County had a couple of better reasons than simple geography for its affinity for The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
While the race's top two finishers, Brazilian winner Tony Kanaan and Colombian Carlos Munoz, hail from South America, neither man needs six degrees of separation to find a connection to Putnam County.
Kanaan's wife, Cambridge City, Ind., native Lauren Bohlander Kanaan, spent four years at DePauw, graduating in 2004.
While on campus in Greencastle, Bohlander lettered three times in volleyball. She was also a communication major, working on the campus television station D3TV.
She's worked professionally for the Big Ten Network, Pacers Sports & Entertainment and Fox Sports Florida.
In the closing laps of Sunday's race, a worldwide audience on ABC could see Bohlander Kanaan pulling for her husband to hold on for victory.
For race fans listening on the radio -- the only live option in Indiana -- an even more familiar Putnam County name came across the airwaves in the late stages of the race.
With Munoz in a good position in the final 30 laps, IMS Radio Network reporter Dave Furst talked to pit strategist John Tzouanakis "or TZ as he's known around the garage."
He is the same Tzouanakis whose father Mike retired as a Greencastle elementary school principal and later had the school named after him. Much like the younger Tzouanakis' IndyCar colleagues, locals have taken to calling the school TZ for short.
The Greencastle native has spent more than 30 years in various capacities for open wheel teams, working most of his career with Newman/Haas, before making the move to Andretti Autosport this May.
Despite working with a driver making his IndyCar debut, Tzouanakis was part of a team effort that produced a second-place finish in the fastest Indianapolis 500 ever.