IndyCar: NTT Data moves Ganassi sponsorship to Tony Kanaan’s No. 10 car

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With Target choosing to move some of its racing sponsorship spending toward promoting its drivers in both the Verizon IndyCar Series and NASCAR, it turns out that only one IndyCar will have the familiar bulls-eye on the sidepod in 2015.

While Scott Dixon will retain the Target colors on his No. 9 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing has announced that his teammate, Tony Kanaan, will take over the NTT Data sponsorship for his No. 10 program. Last season, NTT was the main backer for Ryan Briscoe on Ganassi’s No. 8 machine (pictured, right).

“I can’t wait to begin working with everyone at NTT Data,” Kanaan, the former series champion and Indy 500 winner said in a release. “I know and have worked with them before so this will be great.

“As for the team, we really started to come together at the end of last season and although we ended on a high note with the win in Fontana, I think we had a legitimate chance to win a few more times.

“We have a year under our belt working together now and I expect to be contending more consistently in 2015.”

Today’s announcement is actually a revival of the original plan that NTT Data and Ganassi had in mind when Kanaan (along with engine manufacturer Chevy) were announced to be joining the team in 2014 during the 2013 doubleheader weekend at Houston.

Unfortunately, during that same event, Dario Franchitti suffered a devastating crash that caused injuries serious enough to force him to retire from the sport.

A short time later, Kanaan was chosen to take over Franchitti’s No. 10 Target car for 2014, while the NTT Data backing shifted to Briscoe and the No. 8. It must be noted, however, that the No. 10 machine has featured multiple sponsorships from Target’s vendors in addition to the department store giant itself.

In the 2014 season finale at Fontana, Kanaan broke through for his first victory with the team after a strong run in the second half of the year that featured additional podium finishes at Iowa, both Toronto races, and Milwaukee.

That leaves his boss confident in more success from the Brazilian fan favorite.

“We had planned to have NTT Data and TK partnered together last season but with Dario’s injury we had to move things around a little bit,” team owner Chip Ganassi said today in a statement. “NTT Data has been a great partner for the last couple of years and we are looking forward to much success and a long partnership with them.

“Also, I think TK had a far better year than the numbers would indicate and his win in Fontana gives him and the team great momentum as we head into 2015.”

Champion Marc Marquez leads MotoGP into virtual world Sunday

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During its layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, MotoGP will become the latest racing series to enter the virtual world.

The MotoGP Virtual Race will be held at 9 a.m. ET Sunday, March 29 with 10 riders. It will be streamed on several platforms, including the Motorsports on NBC YouTube channel. Reigning series champion Marc Marquez is among the riders in the field.

The premier class of MotoGP has yet to hit the track this season as its opener was canceled and the next three races were postponed, including the Grand Prix of the Americas being moved from April 5 to Nov. 15.

Several other racing series have tried online racing in recent weeks.

IMSA held a “SuperSaturday at Sebring” March 21 in place of the postponed Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. NASCAR started its Pro Invitational Series last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will continue Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar kicked off its six-race IndyCar iRacing Challenge with a Saturday race at Watkins Glen International that was won by Sage Karam.