Indianapolis, IN- Many started questioning whether Tony Kanaan racing one of the two Chip Ganassi Racing Rolex Series cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday had any indication that he’d be racing for him in the Izod IndyCar Series.
Kanaan dispelled any rumors of that Tuesday afternoon.
“No,” said the 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion regarding whether we should read into the deal. “This deal is a GRAND-AM deal.Unfortunately,(Ryan) Briscoe got hurt in one of the IndyCar races.He was the guy that was going to co-drive with Joey.They invited the Indy 500 winner to do it.That has nothing to do between IndyCar or anything like that with Chip. It’s a one-race deal. I’m glad to do it.”
That there really ends any thought of Kanaan driving one of Ganassi’s IndyCar’s.
Briscoe was injured in a late race accident in the first dual at Toronto nearly two weeks ago. He broke his wrist and will be out of racing until that’s healed. The Aussie drove for Ganassi in the Indianapolis 500 back in May and was set to rejoin the team in a one-off GRAND-AM deal. NTT Data which is the primary sponsor on the GRAND-AM ride that Kanaan and Joey Hand will split time in this weekend was the primary sponsor of the No. 8 Ganassi Honda which Briscoe drove in the Indy 500.
Ganassi and Kanaan’s team owner Jimmy Vasser are really good friends and have a great history together. Vasser raced for Ganassi full-time from 1995-2000 and again in a one-off Indy 500 effort in 2001. He won nine races and the 1996 CART championship as a driver for Ganassi.
TK to Ganassi in 2014 would make sense as he wasn’t sure funding would be enough to back him for the entire 2013 season with KV Racing. But, with the Indy 500 victory funding is now secured and barring a mishap he will set the consecutive start record as a driver for Vasser.
Vasser and TK are very good friends as well and I don’t see him letting Kanaan go to Ganassi.
“Jimmy was excited for me,” said Kanaan. “Apart from being my team owner, Jimmy is my friend.He’s Chip’s friend.He was definitely excited about that.As far as the enemy, I think they have a lot more to hide for me than actually I have from them.Obviously I kept it as much professional as I could.I’m not here to spy or to do anything.I’m here to do a job I got hired for, which is on the GRAND-AM side.We’re all laughing.But it’s pretty weird.I got a visitor pass when I came in here today, so that’s pretty cool (laughter).”
Eric Smith is the lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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