Finding 2014 funding next step for Indy 500 champ Kanaan post-Baltimore

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This year’s Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan will shift from wearing his helmet to his business hat as soon as the weekend’s Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT goes in the books.

Kanaan came into KV Racing Technology – SH in an eleventh hour agreement prior to the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series, and signed a two-year contract to continue with the team through 2013 ahead of the 2012 season. Now a free agent, “TK” will move into overdrive for yet another offseason of working to find the sponsorship to stay on the grid.

“It’s always negotiations; my take on it, this is the new era,” Kanaan admitted during a media teleconference on Wednesday. “You have to put yourself out there and try to sell the product. The more sponsorship you bring, the more resources you can hire, the better things you can have for the team. For me, it’s another day in the office. People are starting to talk about all different things.”

Kanaan said he’ll use the month-long break inbetween Baltimore and Houston in October to go home to Brazil, speak with potential and some current sponsors, and work to “move things along for next year.”

While Kanaan has his options open in terms of where he could drive in 2014, he admitted the ‘500 victory was only step one in the KV building relationship with team principals Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser.

“We’re a fairly young team. I agree totally with Jimmy, we have not accomplished what we have hoped for,” Kanaan said. “Thank God we think like that because if you’re happy winning one race and having four or five podiums a year, that’s not the right mentality to go racing. We started working on the 500 in September of last year with a lot of things that we’ve done, not just in the shop, with the racecar and everything.  Obviously it paid off.  Now we look at each other and say, ‘OK, we need to work for 17 races and win a championship.’”

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.