After what was believed to be his final season in 2020, Tony Kannan joins Chip Ganassi Racing and the #48 team on a multi-year deal, piloting the car on the ovals while Jimmie Johnson will take on the road courses and street circuits.
Kannan will compete in four races this year, the Texas 300 and Genesys 300 doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway, bringing along longtime sponsors Bryant and NTT Data to make this happen.
When making his switch to IndyCar, Johnson stated that he has no desire to run ovals. Kannan had planned to retire after running six races last season with A.J. Foyt Enterprises, but the COVID-19 pandemic meant that he was unable to share his farewell with the fans. Now, returning to the team he drove for from 2014 to 2017, he’s grateful for the chance to do just that.
“I guess I must have done something really good in my life,” Kanaan told the Associated Press.
“Once you leave a team Ganassi, you don’t get a chance to come back, especially at this time in my career. This is just a perfect fit.”
“Because of the pandemic, I expressed a desire to come back and do ovals. I never said I wanted to do a full season because I was realistic. So this is just too good to refuse.”
Team owner Chip Ganassi is excited to work with “TK” once again, confident that he is the right man to pair with the incoming Johnson.
“As the Indy car driver market trends younger and younger, experience is something that cannot be taught – especially at the Indianapolis 500,” Ganassi said in a press release.
“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.”
Over his 23 year career, Kannan has amassed 17 wins, 15 poles, 78 podiums and over 4,000 laps led in 383 starts. He won the 2004 IndyCar championship, and was victorious at the 2013 Indianapolis 500.
The 45-year-old Brazilian will join former teammate Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, and new signing Alex Palou on the track for the Texas 300 scheduled for 01 May.