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Tony And Lauren Kanaan’s Guide To Rev

The 2013 winner of the Indianapolis 500 and 2004 IndyCar Series champion is serving as honorary host of the annual gala.

In December it was announced that IndyCar fan favorite Tony Kanaan and his wife, Lauren, will serve as honorary chairs for Rev, the annual charitable gala that takes place throughout Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In what has become the official start to the month-of-May festivities at IMS, the evening is billed as a celebration to kick off the greatest 31 days in racing, where thousands of patrons can mingle with stars of the track and dine on food from the city’s top chefs. It’s hosted throughout the track’s pagoda, pavilions, and even on the famed Yard of Bricks. Ahead of this year’s event, we spoke with the Kanaans about their tips for experiencing the revelry.

Indianapolis Monthly: Describe Rev for anyone who hasn’t experienced it.
Lauren Kanaan: There is no better way to experience May in Indianapolis. It’s the best restaurants, drinks and food, a number of bands … it’s just a massive party inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is just the coolest place in the whole world.
Tony Kanaan: I’ve never experienced another event like it. I approach Rev as the kickoff to the month of May, and it’s for a great cause with IU Health. We’re here, we made it. It’s the first party of the month, hopefully we’re at the last party of the month after winning the 500.
Lauren Kanaan: Rev does it the best.

IM: How do you want to incorporate your personalities into Rev?
TK: We want to inject my popularity and personality into the event, the way I joke and have fun. If people aren’t attending Rev for me, I hope they’re attending for the fun I exude.
LK: The drivers have so many obligations throughout the month, that Rev makes it light and fun for everyone. Our personalities just align with this event so much.

IM: What advice do you have for first-timers?
TK: Pace yourself on the food. Take a full lap without tasting anything and then go make your decisions.
LK: Also, pace yourself on the drinks.

IM: Sounds like you’ve witnessed a driver or pit crew get a little too crazy?
TK: No, it doesn’t really happen. We’re doing this for charity and to support the people who put us in the driver’s seat. We might go a little crazy on Blondie’s cookies, though.

IM: You hooked us with cookies. How should we dress?
TK: I’m a no-tie guy, so there shouldn’t be a single guy there in a tie. Wear whatever you want, but no tie.
LK: Or if you do choose to wear a tie, you better be making a statement with it.

According to event organizers, Rev is IU Health’s largest annual fundraiser. Proceeds from the last five events have raised more than $2.5 million. Funds from Rev provide care for drivers and patrons at the IU Health Emergency Medical Center located at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and for patients across Indiana in need of critical care. For more information on the event, visit Rev Indy and follow along with Indianapolis Monthly’s #MayMadness coverage.

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