So Much For Retiring as Tony Kanaan Gets an IndyCar Ride for 202111/23/2020
So much for riding quietly into the IndyCar sunset.
Tony Kanaan will be back in the NTT IndyCar Series next year after signing a deal to race ovals for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021. Kanaan, who turns 46 on December 31, is the oldest and most experienced IndyCar racer on the grid with 290 career starts.
The 2021 season will be Kanaan’s 24th in major open-wheel racing in the United States. He began in the CART series in 1998.
The 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner will pair with seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 car at Ganassi, as Johnson will drive the 13 street and road circuits and Kanaan the four ovals on the schedule—including the Indy 500.
“It’s hard to express in words how excited I am about this announcement,” Kanaan said. “When Chip and I first started to talk about the opportunity to drive the ovals and share the No. 48 with Jimmie Johnson I couldn’t imagine that we would reach an agreement this fast.
“Chip Ganassi Racing is at the pinnacle of motorsports in North America and being able to be part of the program once again with such great drivers in their lineup is a dream come true. I’ve also been very fortunate to enjoy great relationships with my sponsors throughout my career and having companies like Bryant and NTT DATA supporting me once again is a testament to that. Both Bryant and NTT DATA have been with me through different teams, wins and even life events. Being able to continue to represent these companies is truly an honor.”
Kanaan, who has 17 career IndyCar wins, drove for Ganassi from 2014-2017. He drove the last three seasons for team owner A.J. Foyt. Kanaan raced just the ovals for Foyt in 2020.
In January of 2020, Kanaan announced that this season would be his last multiple-race season in IndyCar. That, however, was before Ganassi came calling.
“As the Indy car driver market trends younger and younger, experience is something that cannot be taught—especially at the Indianapolis 500,” Chip Ganassi said. “There is no one more experienced in the paddock than Tony, and when we needed the right fit for rounding out our oval program, it was clear he was the right choice.
“We are very familiar with NTT DATA and Bryant over the years and are excited to have both companies back with this program. Tony also knows our team, he knows our system and he knows our drivers. We expect the combination of him and Jimmie to give us the one-two punch we’re looking for in the No. 48.”
Ganassi’s stable in 2021 will also include six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, along with Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou.
Well, the 48 car will have plenty of eyes on it in 2021 as Jimmie Johnson and Tony Kanaan will share the ride. That’s got to be a great thing for IndyCar, right? Jump into the discussion in the comments section below.
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