Jimmie Johnson, Tony Kanaan unveil No. 48 paint scheme for Indy 500


Though he won’t be piloting the No. 48 Dallara-Honda in the Indy 500, Jimmie Johnson helped Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Tony Kanaan unveil the car’s paint scheme Thursday.

The American Legion colors were uncovered in a series of lighthearted social media videos by Johnson and Kanaan, who will be driving the car on ovals this season.

“I’m excited to work with The American Legion this year,” Kanaan said in a release. “Jimmie and I had some fun filming the unveil videos. This livery is really sharp looking, and I’m so happy to be running my 20th Indianapolis 500 in it. The American Legion is an important resource for veterans in helping make sure they get the benefits they have earned through their service, and I am proud to represent them, and all veterans.”

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Kanaan, who is the 2013 Indy 500 winner, will be making his 20th start in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

He drove the Ganassi entry Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he turned his first laps since last August at World Wide Technology Raceway. The test, which will continue Friday, was cut short after 90 minutes by rain but didn’t dampen his enthusiasm.

“Awesome day,” said Kanaan, who drove for Ganassi from 2014-17. “I haven’t been in the car for nine months. This deal has been brewing for so long and seeing pictures of Jimmie and the guys at the track for so long and now it finally became my turn.

“So, a really positive day – short day – but it was a good day. The only thing we can’t control in this place is the weather. I would have loved to have done a few more laps but the car felt comfortable. It’s like riding a bike.

“Coming back to Ganassi, everybody is still here. That goes to show how solid the team is. People that were here four years ago when I left are still here. It honestly like I just came back and never left. That is a good feeling and it’s one less thing that I will have to adapt to. I’m working with Eric (Cowdin) my engineer, and we have been together for 23 years. It was a good day – every day at the racetrack is a good day.”

Kanaan also will be driving an American Legion car in the May 2 race at Texas Motor Speedway.

“Just like each one of our military branches, The American Legion will always have and utilize our traditional seal which has deep meaning to each and every Legionnaire,” Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer for The American Legion, said in a release. “Our new marketing logo on the No. 48 Honda livery looks fantastic and provides a modern and contemporary expression for the brand. The American Legion name is clearly visible and honors our nation’s veterans while still honoring who we are as an organization.”

Johnson will be driving the No. 48 in the 13 road and street course races this season with sponsorship from Carvana. He will make his NTT IndyCar Series debut in the April 18 season opener at Barber Motorsports Park.

Ryan Hunter-Reay hired as replacement for Conor Daly at Ed Carpenter Racing

Ryan Hunter-Reay Carpenter
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ryan Hunter-Reay was named to replace Conor Daly in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet, starting in the NTT IndyCar Series event next week at Road America.

Hunter-Reay is the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner. He finished 11th for Dreyer & Reinbold last month in the 107th Indy 500, his first start since the 2021 season finale. He drove full time for Andretti Autosport from 2010-21.

“We need to improve our competitiveness and I wanted to add a fresh perspective from a driver like Ryan who has a massive amount of experience and success as well as a reputation as a team leader. I am excited to welcome Ryan to the team,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in a team release. “We have worked together in the past as teammates and he tested for ECR at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2021, where he made an immediate impact as we were able to qualify one of our cars on the pole following that test. I am confident that his experience and technical abilities will be an asset to ECR as we move forward toward our goals as a team.”

Hunter-Reay has 18 IndyCar victories, most recently in 2018. He also is a winner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having been a part of winning entries in the 2020 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 2018 Petit Le Mans. Last year, he was an endurance driver for Cadillac Racing while being on standby for Chip Ganassi Racing.

He replaces Daly, whose departure was announced a day earlier in what the driver and team said was a mutual decision.

“I was surprised when I got the call from Ed,” Hunter-Reay said in a team release. “He described how frustrated he was that his team has not been able to realize its potential despite their efforts, investments, as well as technical and personnel changes over the past few years and asked for my help. Ed and I are very close friends and have been for a long time. I’ve worked with the team in the past and they are a very talented group with high expectations and a committed partner in BITNILE.COM.

“This will certainly be a challenge for me as well. It’s a tough situation jumping in a car in the middle of the season without any testing in what I believe to be the most competitive series in the world. Certainly, part of my motivation in saying ‘yes’ to Ed is the great challenge ahead. The last time I turned right driving an NTT IndyCar Series car was in October of 2021 with this team at Barber. However, I remain very confident in both my driving and technical abilities and believe by working with the talented people at ECR and Team Chevy, while representing BITNILE.COM, we will make progress. I am going to do everything I can do to help the team achieve its long-term objectives.”

Said Milton “Todd” Ault, the chairman of sponsor BitNile.com: “It is great for BitNile.com to be aligned with an Indy 500 Winner and an NTT IndyCar Series champion. I have followed Ryan’s career for years and I am confident he will challenge the entire ECR team to perform at higher levels. I wish everyone luck at Road America.”