Tony Kanaan will team with Jimmie Johnson in Ganassi Racing’s No. 48 on IndyCar ovals

Tony Kanaan Ganassi ovals
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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Tony Kanaan will have another chance for a proper IndyCar farewell tour with a two-year deal on ovals to partner with Jimmie Johnson at Chip Ganassi Racing.

Kanaan will compete in the four oval events on IndyCar’s 2021 schedule that Johnson does not plan to run. The seven-time NASCAR champion signed on for the road and street course events, and Ganassi announced Monday that Kanaan will complete the season in the No. 48 Honda.

“I was on the way out and all of a sudden I get a call from Jimmie about running the ovals. He kept saying ‘Doesn’t this make sense?’ ” Kanaan told The Associated Press. “They didn’t have to twist my arm to come back, especially with Jimmie and Chip.”

Kanaan’s 23rd season was supposed to be his last, but the popular Brazilian was able to put together only a six-race “Last Lap” farewell on IndyCar’s ovals. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic then disrupted the entire year. and Kanaan was not able to celebrate the end of his career with fans. He began exploring ways to return part time in 2021 along with becoming a driver coach.

The two-year opportunity to pair with Johnson gets Kanaan back to Ganassi, where he raced from 2014-17 and scored his 17th and final victory. It’s also a chance to race in front of his rabid base. Kanaan will compete in 2021 in the doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway, at Gateway near St. Louis and at the Indianapolis 500, where he became a beloved winner in 2013.

Kanaan, who will turn 46 on New Year’s Eve, is grateful for this opportunity at the end of his career. He also has been picked to drive all six races in Tony Stewart’s start-up SRX Racing Series of all-stars next year.

“I guess I must have done something really good in my life,” Kanaan said. “Once you leave a team like Ganassi, you don’t get a chance to come back, especially at this time in my career. This is just a perfect fit. It is so obvious, as Jimmie said, for me to race the ovals that he does not want to race.

“Because of the pandemic, I expressed a desire to come back and do ovals. I never said I wanted to do a full season because I was realistic. So this is just too good to refuse.”

https://twitter.com/TonyKanaan/status/1330897123458641923?s=20

The No. 48 will be sponsored by NTT DATA and Bryant, two longtime Kanaan partners. Both NTT Data and Bryant stepped in this last season when Kanaan sold a six-race farewell tour with A.J. Foyt Racing. NTT Data first partnered with Kanaan in 2013, and Bryant has worked with the driver for 14 seasons.

Nathan Brown of the Indianapolis Star reported the deal was part of an extension by Ganassi with NTT Data.

Ganassi, who just hired 23-year-old Alex Palou to drive his No. 10 IndyCar entry next season, liked the idea of a veteran lineup in the No. 48.

“As the Indy car driver market trends younger and younger, experience is something that cannot be taught — especially at the Indianapolis 500,” Ganassi said. “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.

“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.”

Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series triples to 34 races in 2023

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023
Xtreme Outlaw Series
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After hosting 10 rounds in 2022, the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series 2023 schedule will more than triple to 34 races. The 2022 season featured seven different winners in the first seven races, a female racer in Jade Avedisian as the only repeat winner and Zach Daum as the champion.

“Dirt Midget racing is a growing entity in American motorsports, and the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota is proud to drive further into the growth of the division with both a diverse and lucrative schedule for 2023,” newly appointed Series Director Tyler Bachman said in a press release. “From the kickoff at our first indoor event, to each of the new tracks we’re set to visit next year, it’s a lineup we know both our teams and fans will enjoy.”

The championship purse fund has also more than double with an increase of $42,000 to $80,000 in 2023. The champion will win $25,000. Last year, Daum pocketed $10,000.

In addition, the series will offer tow money to the top 12 in points. Six drivers attempted to qualify for all 10 races in 2022 with 89 drivers attending.

The series will begin on March 10 at Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill. and end the same place it did in 2022 at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City on October 15.

During the season, they will visit 21 tracks in 10 states.

Some highlights of the season include the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series pairing up with the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars in 2023 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. in April for the Outlaw Showdown and again in August for the Ironman 55 weekend, as well as the creation of a five-day Midget Speedweek.

The Midget Speedweek will immediately follow the Ironman 55 with a swing through Pennsylvania and New York.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023 Schedule

Friday, March 10 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Saturday, March 11 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Friday, March 31 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.

Saturday, April 1 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.
Friday, April 14 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Saturday, April 15 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.

Friday, May 5 | Humboldt Speedway | Humboldt, Kan.
Saturday, May 6 | 81 Speedway | Park City, Kan.
Tuesday, May 23 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.
Wednesday, May 24 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.

Thursday, June 1 | Tri-City Speedway | Pontoon Beach, Ill.
Friday, June 2 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.
Saturday, June 3 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.

Friday, July 21 | TBA
Saturday, July 22 | Southern Illinois Raceway | Marion, Ill.
Friday, July 28 | TBA
Saturday, July 29 | Atomic Speedway | Chillicothe, Ohio
Sunday, July 30 | Brushcreek Motorsports Complex | Peebles, Ohio

Friday, August 4 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Sat, August 5 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Tuesday, August 8 | Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway | Newmanstown, Pa.
Wednesday, August 9 | Action Track USA | Kutztown, Pa.
Thursday, August 10 | Linda’s Speedway | Jonestown, Pa.
Friday, August 11 | TBA
Saturday, August 12 | Bridgeport Motorsports Park | Swedesboro, N.J.
Friday, August 25 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa
Saturday, August 26 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa

Friday, September 1 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Saturday, September 2 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Friday, September 15 | Jacksonville Speedway | Jacksonville, Ill.
Saturday, September 16 | Red Hill Raceway | Sumner, Ill.

Friday, October 13 | Port City Raceway | Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, October 14 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sunday, October 15 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.

* Co-sanctioned with POWRi