Skip to content

Kanaan has chance to extend best friends’ legacy in Ganassi’s No. 10

Dec 20, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

Chip Ganassi, Tony Kanaan AP

We’ve written a lot in the week since Ryan Briscoe was picked to be Chip Ganassi Racing’s fourth driver about his return to the team, but not nearly as much about reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan actually taking over the No. 10 Target IndyCar from Dario Franchitti.

Things are coming a bit full circle for Kanaan, who had the opportunity to join the Target team after 2008 when his contract was up with then-Andretti Green Racing. As it turned out, Kanaan opted to re-sign with AGR, which left Franchitti a place to return to replace the late Dan Wheldon heading into the 2009 season.

Now, the reality is sinking it that Kanaan will follow two of his best friends – and former AGR teammates – in the 10 for 2014.

“The day of my announcement, was the day (Dario) said, ‘This is real.’ To me, it’s today. This is real,” Kanaan admitted on Thursday.

“It’s kind of funny how the story was written,” he added. “To be honest with you, I was thinking about it the other day. If there’s a funny way to look at it, when Dan (Wheldon) went upstairs, he found the book of the story of our lives and he found a page and changed it. He wrote this (scenario) down. It’s just unbelievable. The three last guys on the (Borg-Warner) trophy and the three last guys who drove the 10 car.”

And indeed that’s the case. Wheldon, who famously won the 2011 Indianapolis 500 on the final lap, Franchitti, who took his third triumph after holding off Takuma Sato with a great effort on the last lap in 2012, and Kanaan, who won this year’s, now have held the No. 10 seat in succession.

Franchitti only wanted it if it was determined he couldn’t drive anymore, as he explained Thursday during his first round of media availability since his Houston accident.

“That’s when I said to myself, If for whatever reason I don’t drive anymore, I would love for you to drive the 10 car,” Franchitti said. “That would be my dream. I have no power to make that happen, but that would make me very happy to see you get a chance to drive that. That’s when we had that discussion.”

It’s only going back to Ganassi’s difficult 2005 season that it hasn’t had a top-flight, race-winning driver in the No. 10 alongside Scott Dixon in the No. 9. That year, a carousel of drivers in Darren Manning, Giorgio Pantano and Jaques Lazier rotated through the team. Wheldon came in in 2006, with Franchitti taking over in 2009.

Kanaan was happy enough to have the chance to join Ganassi as it was, when he was originally projected to take over the No. 8 NTT Data Chevrolet with Franchitti planning to make a full recovery in the 10. Now, Kanaan shifts to the 10, Briscoe comes back, and Kanaan’s opportunity is greater still.

“For me at this point of my career, to get the opportunity like that, it wasn’t in my mind,” Kanaan said. “It was a difficult day, just watching (Dario) but he does such a good job. I wouldn’t be able to handle myself without crying. He was talking to all his friends. I know that I can honor him every time I drive his car.”

He’ll do so working in tandem with engineer Chris Simmons, who remains on the No. 10, while his own longtime engineer Eric Cowdin will work with Briscoe on the No. 8. Cowdin and Briscoe have a history though, from their time together at Team Penske.

Latest Posts
  1. Hamilton closes out Bahrain GP practice on top

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:02 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Qualifying Getty Images

    The defending world champion edges out Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in FP3 ahead of qualifying later today.

  2. WATCH LIVE: FP3 for the Bahrain GP from 8am ET on Live Extra

    Apr 18, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Mercedes and Ferrari continue to exchange blows in Bahrain, but who will get the upper hand ahead of qualifying?

  3. Ricky Taylor, Auberlen on pole for TUDOR at Long Beach

    Apr 17, 2015, 9:16 PM EDT

    Photo: IMSA Photo: IMSA

    Ricky Taylor, Bill Auberlen secure pole positions for Round 3 of TUDOR Championship season in Long Beach.

  4. Power, Pagenaud laugh off last year’s Long Beach contact in post-practice press conference

    Apr 17, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    A quick flashback to last year's Pagenaud, Power contact. A quick flashback to last year's Pagenaud, Power contact.

    Some good banter between Simon Pagenaud and Will Power occurs during post-practice press conference, as the two laugh off their contact here last year.

  5. GP2: Vandoorne continues pole position streak in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    Five in a row for the McLaren junior driver as he starts the 2015 season in style.

  6. Raikkonen and Vettel cautious about challenging Mercedes in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Mideast Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Ferrari’s long run pace suggests that Mercedes may not have it all its own way on Sunday.

  7. INDYCAR confirms more aero kit updates coming to Long Beach

    Apr 17, 2015, 5:41 PM EDT

    KimballRahal AP

    More from INDYCAR has been released regarding aero kit updates.

  8. Button upbeat despite two practice stoppages in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    He may have only completed 17 laps in total on Friday, but Jenson Button remains positive about McLaren’s progress.

  9. Red Bull GRC: Media day series notes

    Apr 17, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT

    GRClogo2

    Red Bull Global Rallycross rolls out a series of announcements for media day, Thursday in Long Beach.

  10. Dixon leads Ganassi 1-2 in Long Beach opening practice

    Apr 17, 2015, 4:24 PM EDT

    Scott Dixon Getty Images

    Scott Dixon on top in opening practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series at Long Beach.

  11. Brake problems hinder Toro Rosso in Bahrain practice

    Apr 17, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Carlos Sainz Jr. AP

    A mixed day for both Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen during practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

  12. Bottas pleased with practice showing, but thinks there is more time to find in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Practice Getty Images

    Williams usually reserves its pace for Saturday, but Valtteri Bottas bucked the trend in Bahrain on Friday.

  13. Hamilton sure Mercedes will avoid Malaysia issues in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 2:36 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Briton pleased with Mercedes work following practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.

  14. Sato looks for a St. Pete encore and/or Long Beach repeat on Sunday

    Apr 17, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Getty Images

    He’s not the race defending champion, but as the most recent Long Beach winner still in the IndyCar field, Takuma Sato is indeed one to watch this weekend.

  15. Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel and Perez under investigation for incidents in Bahrain GP practice

    Apr 17, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT

    Mideast Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    A busy night for the stewards in Bahrain due to two incidents at the end of FP2 on Friday.

  16. Rocky Moran Jr. to replace Huertas in Coyne’s No. 18 for Long Beach

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT

    Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston - Day 3 Getty Images

    Rocky Moran Jr. to make IndyCar debut this weekend with Dale Coyne Racing in a last-minute fill-in role for Carlos Huertas.

  17. Rosberg heads up Mercedes one-two in Bahrain FP2

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:31 PM EDT

    Rosberg 174av Getty Images

    Normal service is resumed in FP2 as Mercedes dominates proceedings, but Ferrari proves that it could be in the running for the race win on race day.

  18. Could Long Beach provide the venue for Pagenaud’s first Penske win?

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    PagsStPete AP

    Picking a winner from the Team Penske quartet is always a challenge, but Simon Pagenaud has his best shot yet to break through this weekend.

  19. Max Chilton adjusting to life outside F1, embracing Indy Lights opportunity

    Apr 17, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Photo: Carlin Racing Photo: Carlin Racing

    Max Chilton reflects on his new dual role with Carlin in Indy Lights, and a bit on his Nissan LMP1 role as well.