- Associated Press - Thursday, May 30, 2013

DETROIT (AP) - Tony Kanaan has settled a bet by dyeing his hair blond.

And, the Indianapolis 500 champion made himself the butt of at least one joke.

“He looks like Eminem on steroids,” Helio Castroneves cracked, drawing chuckles Thursday at a luncheon promoting the Detroit Grand Prix.

The buff Kanaan dyed his short, black hair blond to take care of his end of a bargain with Rubens Barrichello, a former Formula One and IndyCar driver, who shaved his head because his close friend won IndyCar’s signature race on Sunday.

Kanaan posted pictures on his Twitter account, showing his blond hair along with Barrichello’s new look.

The Brazilian expects to keep his new `do for the Detroit Grand Prix, which will have IndyCar’s first double-header with full-length races on Saturday and Sunday.

“I think it’s going to be the hardest weekend I’ve ever had in IndyCar in my entire career,” said Kanaan, who has started 262 open-wheel races since 1998.

After Sunday’s race, Kanaan plans to shave his hair off ahead of his scheduled interview the next day with David Letterman.

Kanaan won his first Indy 500 on Sunday _ in 12 attempts _ to end an IndyCar victory drought that lasted nearly three years.

His celebration included a long embrace with Alex Zanardi, a former champion who lost both his legs in a 2001 accident and who traveled from Italy to watch the race. Zanardi had Kanaan rub one of his gold medals from the 2012 London Paralympics for luck.

“The whole weekend, it’s almost like somebody came from Hollywood and scripted and said, `OK, this is what we’re going to make,’” Kanaan said.

When Kanaan checked his voicemails following the victory, he heard an emotional message from Barrichello, who called from Paris.

“He was crying like a baby, which I can’t blame him for,” Kanaan recalled. “When I called him back, he was already calm.”

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