2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan is switching teams.
The Brazilian race car driver is leaving KV Racing after this season and joining Chip Ganassi Racing. Kanaan’s contract with KV Racing expires this year.
According to a couple of people familiar with Kanaan’s plan to move, he is currently finalizing a deal with Ganassi. The move has not yet been announced.
But maybe a move isn’t actually happening. Kanaan said, “I don’t have a deal.” He added that he has spoken with multiple IndyCar team owners, but none have offered him a deal.
The Ganassi team already includes Indianapolis 500 winners Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, as well as Charlie Kimball. Something else Kanaan has in common with Dixon and Franchitti is winning the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series championship. Kanaan won the IndyCar in 2004.
Kanaan would like to keep his KV Racing team together, but the economic hardships in IndyCar may make it difficult.
KV Racing’s Jimmy Vasser said, “We have an offer in front of him to return (to KV Racing Technology). We’ve actually had two offers to him in the past two weeks because we sweetened the second one up. We’re on the road to signing, and he doesn’t have to bring any money. I’m proud of the offer; it’s a pretty solid deal, and for two years.”
Though he admitted these deals have been offered, Kanaan hasn’t received any documents from KV Racing to sign.
For 17 seasons, Kanaan has been racing in American open-wheel, spending the last 12 with IndyCar.
It seems the 16-time race winner is looking to avoid a similar situation from his past which left him without sponsorship when he was with Andretti Autosport three years ago. Before the 2011 season a last-minute deal had to be put together.
Leaving KV Racing may have been on Kanaan’s mind for a while. In early September he had an informal meeting with Joe Gibbs Racing, saying he wouldn’t rule out a move to NASCAR.
The move to Ganassi won’t be new to Kanaan, who raced for them in the Grand-AM race in Indianapolis this past summer. However, at that time, he said he was just doing the team a favor, denying any future move to Ganassi.
You can watch highlights of Kanaan’s Indy 500 victory in the video below.
By the way, is it just me or does Kanaan look like Vin Diesel?
[Kanaan and Diesel images via YouTube.}