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. Rosberg recovers to second at Silverstone, praises Hamilton for late pit call

    Jul 5, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP makes a pit stop during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 5, 2015 in Northampton, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After a poor start, Rosberg fights his way to second place at Silverstone, but slips further behind Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.

  2. Emotional Hamilton tears up on last lap of British GP, thanks fans for support en route to win

    Jul 5, 2015, 10:05 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 5, 2015.
 AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Hamilton won his home grand prix for the third time on Sunday after seeing off a spirited challenge from Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and both Williams drivers.

  3. Hamilton weathers the storm to claim third British GP victory at Silverstone

    Jul 5, 2015, 9:36 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton races during the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 5, 2015.      AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Hamilton beats the weather and the field to record his third victory at Silverstone.

  4. GP2: Haryanto claims third sprint race win of season

    Jul 5, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    Rossi charges to fourth place in spite of a time penalty.

  5. WATCH LIVE: British GP Race Day on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET

    Jul 5, 2015, 7:15 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton drives during the qualifying session at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 4, 2015 ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix.      
 AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Can Lewis Hamilton win for a third time on home soil? Or will Nico Rosberg spoil his homecoming?

  6. What to watch for: British Grand Prix (7:30am ET on CNBC and Live Extra)

    Jul 5, 2015, 6:31 AM EDT

    Williams Martini Racing's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa (L) shares a joke with Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton after the qualifying session at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 4, 2015 ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton took pole ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg with Massa in third place.
 AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Everything you need to know ahead of today’s race at Silverstone.

  7. Mallya stresses sustainability in bid to ‘uncrap’ F1

    Jul 4, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    NEW DELHI, INDIA - FEBRUARY 11: UB group Chairman and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Mallya talking with media at Parliament House after attending the extended winter session on February 11, 2014 in New Delhi, India.(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images) Getty Images

    The coinage of a new term took place at Silverstone on Thursday thanks for Force India’s owner.

  8. Raikkonen and Vettel downbeat as Ferrari lags to third row at Silverstone

    Jul 4, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 4, 2015 in Northampton, England. Getty Images

    Both Ferraris will start behind Williams for the first time in 2015 on Sunday.

  9. Ricciardo disappointed to have qualifying times deleted

    Jul 4, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 04:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing prepares in the garage during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 4, 2015 in Northampton, England.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The Red Bull driver will start tomorrow’s British Grand Prix from tenth place on the grid.

  10. GP2: Sirotkin claims maiden win as Rossi storms to second place at Silverstone

    Jul 4, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    A lively GP2 race sees Sirotkin claim his first win in the series ahead of Rossi and championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne.

  11. McLaren reprimanded after tire mix-up in qualifying

    Jul 4, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

    McLaren Honda's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso drives during the qualifying session at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 4, 2015 ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix.      
 AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A communication error caused one of Jenson Button’s tires to be fitted to Fernando Alonso’s car.

  12. Verstappen surprised by Q2 elimination at Silverstone

    Jul 4, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Scuderia Toro Rosso's Belgian-Dutch driver Max Verstappen spins off the track during the qualifying session at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 4, 2015 ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix.       AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Dutchman admits to NBCSN that he thought he would easily make it through to Q3 in British GP qualifying.

  13. Massa delighted as Williams enjoys best qualifying of season at Silverstone

    Jul 4, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    xxxx during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 4, 2015 in Northampton, England. Getty Images

    Massa will start tomorrow’s British Grand Prix from third place on the grid ahead of Williams teammate Valtteri Bottas.

  14. Rosberg: Narrow defeat to Hamilton in qualifying ‘annoying’

    Jul 4, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton (R) shakes hands with Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg after the qualifying session at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 4, 2015 ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix. Hamilton took pole ahead of teammate Rosberg with Massa in third place.
 AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    German driver misses out on pole position by just 0.113 seconds on Saturday at Silverstone.

  15. Hamilton hails “a special day” after scoring Silverstone pole

    Jul 4, 2015, 9:47 AM EDT

    xxxx during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 4, 2015 in Northampton, England. Getty Images

    Hamilton thanks fans for support as over 100,000 come out for qualifying on Saturday at Silverstone.

  16. Hamilton storms to home pole position at British GP

    Jul 4, 2015, 9:05 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates taking pole after the qualifying session at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 4, 2015 ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix.      
 AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Hamilton edges out Rosberg for top spot in Q3 on Saturday at Silverstone.

  17. WATCH LIVE: British GP Qualifying on CNBC and Live Extra from 8am ET

    Jul 4, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT

    NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 04:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP walks to the garage from the motorhome during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 4, 2015 in Northampton, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Can Lewis Hamilton storm to his eighth pole position of the 2015 Formula 1 season on Saturday at Silverstone?

  18. Hamilton closes out British GP practice fastest

    Jul 4, 2015, 6:02 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton drives during the third practice session at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 4, 2015 ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix.      AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    British driver back on top at Silverstone as Rosberg suffers another gearbox problem.

  19. WATCH LIVE: FP3 for the British Grand Prix on Live Extra from 5am ET

    Jul 4, 2015, 4:45 AM EDT

    NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 03:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives in the pit lane during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 3, 2015 in Northampton, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Rosberg looks to make it a clean sweep of practice sessions on Saturday morning.