Report: Kanaan linked to Ganassi switch, but status unofficial (UPDATED)

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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.

As ever though, nothing is official until the team entity – whichever team – announces it.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.