Skip to content

Kanaan gearing up for Ganassi switch, first test

Nov 7, 2013, 10:00 AM EST

Indianapolis 500 Getty Images

There’s only been a couple weeks since the 2013 IndyCar season ended, and already preparations are well underway for the first round of offseason testing.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, with his KV Racing Technology stint over, can now properly look ahead to his new ride with Chip Ganassi Racing.

“It’s a huge opportunity for me, to join the team that just won the championship,” he said at the Borg-Warner display at the SEMA Show on Tuesday. “It’s quite remarkable to be able to go there at this stage in my career.”

Kanaan confirmed his longtime engineer, Eric Cowdin, will make the move with him to Ganassi but doesn’t know how many of the rest of his “band” of crewmembers can switch as well. In Kanaan’s words, “not my department.”

It seems weird to fathom that in this, the 16th season of his illustrious open-wheel career dating to 1998, that Kanaan had his highest one-race high (Indy) but a career-low in the championship, since he switched from CART to the then-Indy Racing League in 2003. Since his switch, Kanaan had not finished outside the top 10 in points and ninth last year had been his previous worst. He ended 11th in 2013.

“Yeah we really had a lot of ups and downs,” he explained. “The championship result was my worst ever, and that tells you how much we focused on the oval races to win the 500. We went that route and it worked. We set a goal, because we knew we couldn’t compete for the championship with our budget and all that stuff. We won the race that we needed to.”

Of the competition level, Kanaan says it continues to get “deeper and deeper,” and you never know how much deeper it will get.

He does enter 2014 with the peace of mind of not needing to pursue a budget to make the CGR opportunity happen, as he had to do each of the past three years with KV. NTT Data will back his entry.

“Yeah that helps a lot,” he said. “It takes a big weight off my shoulders. I can just worry about winning and racing, and I’m relieved because of that.”

Kanaan’s first test is December 4 at Sebring. He’s optimistic he’ll be in one of the two CGR Riley Ford Daytona Prototypes at the opening round of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

He’ll also have the built-in advantage of having raced Chevrolet twin-turbocharged IndyCar engine before. That will be new to his teammates, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Charlie Kimball, at their first tests.

Latest Posts
  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ponders a 24-hour NASCAR race

    Jan 25, 2015, 11:33 PM EST

    Dale Jr. TaxSlayer Bowl 2015 Getty Images

    A big fan of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Dale Earnhardt Jr. posed a rather interesting question to his Twitter followers: Could NASCAR ever do — let alone consider — a 24-hour race?

  2. NASCAR: John Hunter Nemechek, XFINITY champ Chase Elliott win at SpeedFest

    Jan 25, 2015, 7:34 PM EST

    Lucas Oil 200 - Practice Getty Images

    Nemechek, Elliott victorious in late model doubleheader Sunday at Cordele, Ga.

  3. Site of previously planned NASCAR track in New York to finally be developed

    Jan 25, 2015, 6:00 PM EST

    nascar logo

    Land once earmarked for a new NASCAR track in New York will instead become a big box and manufacturing complex.

  4. ‘Do you get mad when your boyfriend wrecks you?’ Danica Patrick faces kids’ pressing questions

    Jan 25, 2015, 5:38 PM EST

    Credit: NASCAR Credit: NASCAR

    Patrick had fun Sunday taking part in a children’s Q-and-A session at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. But she’s also ready to start her third full season of Sprint Cup racing.

  5. Jeff Gordon to serve as NASCAR TV analyst this season

    Jan 25, 2015, 4:44 PM EST

    Federated Auto Parts 400 Getty Images

    Gordon will be part of a rotation of driver analysts for Fox Sports’ coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015.

  6. Renault director: We’re aiming for at least five F1 wins in 2015

    Jan 25, 2015, 3:42 PM EST

    Cyril Abiteboul AP

    Cyril Abiteboul also says Renault is pushing to cut Mercedes’ 2014 horsepower advantage in half by this year’s season opener.

  7. Jack Roush hung up on twice — and Jeff Gordon was gone

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:57 PM EST

    Jack Roush Getty Images

    Jack Roush isn’t used to being hung up on, but Jeff Gordon’s stepfather and business manager did so twice when the Cat in the Hat wanted to sign Gordon to drive a Ford in 1992.

  8. Ganassi’s No. 02 Riley-Ford Scores Rolex 24 Victory

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:22 PM EST

    02rolexwin AP

    Ganassi back on top at Rolex 24 at Daytona.

  9. Rolex extends 23-year sponsor role of Rolex 24 at Daytona

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:58 PM EST

    rolex 24 logo

    Rolex Watch USA will continue to sponsor the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a partnership that began 23 years ago, the watch company and Daytona International Speedway have announced.

  10. Bill Elliott: Ford passed on son Chase, but Hendrick and Chevy rode to the rescue

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:15 PM EST

    Bill and Chase Elliott PHX 2014 Getty Images

    Bill Elliott originally wanted son Chase in a Ford when he began his racing career. But when a deal couldn’t be worked out, the Elliott’s took a deal offered by Rick Hendrick and Chevrolet.

  11. MotorSportsTalk 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona Sunday blog

    Jan 25, 2015, 12:20 PM EST

    MSTblog2 Getty Images

    Sunday has dawned at the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona.

  12. NASCAR: Kyle Larson says he’d “like to try” Le Mans in Twitter Q&A

    Jan 25, 2015, 12:05 PM EST

    Rolex 24 At Daytona Getty Images

    The NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie of the year has been busy helping the No. 02 Ganassi team stay in contention at the Rolex 24.

  13. Rico Abreu says there’s still a lot for him to learn after 1st stock car race

    Jan 25, 2015, 11:14 AM EST

    Credit: RicoAbreu.com Credit: RicoAbreu.com

    The Chili Bowl champion and future NASCAR K&N East driver assesses his night in a Super Late Model car at New Smyrna Speedway.

  14. Trey Canard wins Oakland Supercross, Ryan Dungey takes over 450SX points lead

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:10 AM EST

    trey_canard_supercross_2015_anaheim2_v2 Getty Images

    An early mistake from Ken Roczen shuffled him to the back of the field and resulted in him giving up the points lead.

  15. Malcolm Stewart records first career 250SX win at Oakland Supercross

    Jan 25, 2015, 1:55 AM EST

    malcolm_stewart_supercross_2015_phoenix Getty Images

    Cooper Webb retained the points lead in the 250 Class but had some pointed words for Tyler Bowers after the race.

  16. MotorSportsTalk 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona Saturday blog

    Jan 24, 2015, 11:10 PM EST

    Rolex24post1MST Getty Images

    The 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona is now underway.

  17. Chili Bowl champ Rico Abreu finishes 13th in stock car debut (UPDATED)

    Jan 24, 2015, 10:50 PM EST

    Credit: RicoAbreu.com Credit: RicoAbreu.com

    UPDATED: A pair of disqualifications involving two of Abreu’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teammates elevate the Chili Bowl champion to a 13th place finish.

  18. Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon moving into NASCAR radio coverage

    Jan 24, 2015, 7:06 PM EST

    SEMA Show NASCAR Announcement Getty Images

    Coon will work on MRN Radio’s live qualifying and race broadcasts in 2015.

  19. Life after Ferrari: Luca di Montezemolo could become head of Rome’s 2024 Olympic bid

    Jan 24, 2015, 5:23 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Qualifying Getty Images

    Since resigning from Ferrari last fall, Montezemolo has taken over as CEO of an Italian airline and joined the board of directors for F1’s controlling shareholder.

  20. Veterans’ assistance group working to buy Rockingham Speedway

    Jan 24, 2015, 3:08 PM EST

    Carolina 200 Getty Images

    Vets-Help hopes to not only host disabled veterans’ races at the track, but also build a residential complex and rehab center for vets and soldiers returning from war.

Video from NASCAR America

Gordon hesitant to call it 'retirement'
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Clements (1385)
  2. B. Vickers (1376)
  3. M. Waltrip (1358)
  4. K. Grala (1349)
  5. M. Lira (1233)