According to the Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer, reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan will move to Chip Ganassi Racing’s IndyCar team in 2014. Sources spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made.
No indication was given as to whether this would be a Target-backed car or fall under the auspices of the “G2” program operated out of Brownsburg, the shop where Charlie Kimball resides. As it is, Kanaan would be the fourth driver alongside Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Kimball.
Kanaan would serve as the first major domino to fall in the driver front for the 2014 IndyCar Series silly season. We surmised recently that Kanaan was one of the two likeliest options to move to Ganassi, along with Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe, with the likelihood that Ganassi would bring its fourth car out of a one-year hiatus.
This would not come as a major surprise given Kanaan raced for Ganassi’s GRAND-AM Rolex Series team in Indianapolis and has said he would need to package the sponsorship to stay at KV. He has achieved two major career milestones with Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven’s team, with the Indianapolis 500 victory and his record-setting 212th straight start at Baltimore last race.
Hinchcliffe would now be all but a cinch to stay with Andretti in a fifth car, with a consortium of sponsors likely because GoDaddy is mulling whether it wants to stay on as a primary sponsor.
For KV, the situation could be less clear. This would leave just Simona de Silvestro and a second seat likely to go to the highest bidder, if at all. Stay tuned.
UPDATE, 6:15 p.m. ET: The AP report was refuted by a further report by the Indianapolis Star‘s Curt Cavin posted later this afternoon, with quotes from both Kanaan and Vasser.
Kanaan said he doesn’t have a deal either way, and Vasser has said two offers have been made to him – the latter and updated one noting he would not need to bring any funding on his own. Vasser also cited a desire to “keep the band together,” referring to a cast and crew Kanaan has worked with the majority of his career, including engineer Eric Cowdin.
I’d tend to agree with this tweet Cavin offered later, in that if Ganassi wants Kanaan, he’ll get him.
My take on TK: If Ganassi wants him, he’ll get him. But TK insists there’s no offer, and Vasser said KV offer is still on table. #IndyCar
— Curt Cavin (@curtcavin) September 27, 2013
As ever though, nothing is official until the team entity – whichever team – announces it.