Kanaan Returns To Ganassi, Will Share No. 48 With Johnson

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Tony Kanaan will compete in four NTT IndyCar Series events next year for Chip Ganassi Racing. (IndyCar Photo)
Tony Kanaan will compete in four NTT IndyCar Series events next year for Chip Ganassi Racing. (IndyCar Photo)

CONCORD, N.C. – Tony Kanaan will return to Chip Ganassi Racing next year in the NTT IndyCar Series as part of a multi-year agreement to compete in four oval track events in the No. 48 Honda.

The No. 48 will primarily be driven by seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson during road and street course events, with Kanaan set to drive for the team at World Wide Technology Raceway, two races at Texas Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Kanaan, who drove for Ganassi from 2014 to ’17, will have sponsorship from NTT Data and Bryant during his four races.

He originally planned for the 2020 season to be his final year racing in the NTT IndyCar Series, but the COVID-19 pandemic left Kanaan unsatisfied with his farewell season and he acknowledged that he would entertain the idea of returning to competition should the right opportunity arise. 

“As the Indy car driver market trends younger and younger, experience is something that cannot be taught – especially at the Indianapolis 500,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “There is no one more experienced in the paddock than Tony, and when we needed the right fit for rounding out our oval program, it was clear he was the right choice. We are very familiar with NTT Data and Bryant over the years and are excited to have both companies back with this program. Tony also knows our team, he knows our system and he knows our drivers. We expect the combination of him and Jimmie to give us the one-two punch we’re looking for in the No. 48.”

In 23 seasons of Indy car racing, Kanaan has made 383 starts and earned 17 wins, 15 poles, 78 podiums and led more than 4,000 laps.

He began his career in 1998 and was the 2004 NTT IndyCar Series champion and won the 2013 Indianapolis 500. He remains the all-time leader in consecutive starts with 318 consecutive Indy car starts, having started every race since Portland in 2001 through the first race of the 2020 season in Texas.

“It’s hard to express in words how excited I am about this announcement,” said Kanaan. “When Chip and I first started to talk about the opportunity to drive the ovals and share the No. 48 with Jimmie Johnson I couldn’t imagine that we would reach an agreement this fast. Chip Ganassi Racing is at the pinnacle of motorsports in North America and being able to be part of the program once again with such great drivers in their lineup is a dream come true. I’ve also been very fortunate to enjoy great relationships with my sponsors throughout my career and having companies like Bryant and NTT Data supporting me once again is a testament to that. Both Bryant and NTT Data have been with me through different teams, wins and even life events. Being able to continue to represent these companies is truly an honor.”