Tony Kanaan will race the 106th Indy 500, which is his only race on his NTT IndyCar Series schedule this season but not necessarily his last in the series.
Kanaan will be running in a fifth car with Chip Ganassi Racing. The 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner drove the No. 48 Dallara-Honda on ovals last season while Johnson focused on road and street course races. Ganassi initially announced Kanaan also would race on the ovals in 2022, but those plans changed last month when Johnson decided to race full time this season in IndyCar.
Kanaan, who turned 47 a few weeks ago, once announced the 2020 IndyCar season would be his “Last Lap.” But he said Monday during a Zoom news conference that he is making no pronouncements about his IndyCar career, which started as a CART rookie in 1998.
“We called it ‘TK’s Last Lap’ three years ago, and I’m still making laps,” Kanaan said. “Do I still think I can do it 100 percent? My question will be what if I win No. 2? Would I be coming back or not? So I’m not announcing anything. My intentions are for this not to be the last one. Next year will be my 25th year in IndyCar, and it would be pretty cool to do that.”
“I jumped the gun three years ago when I said that was going to be my last,” Kanaan said. “I actually decided that that’s gone. We called it ‘TK’s Last Lap’ three years ago, and we’re still doing laps.
“It’s hard to tell. Obviously, we knew it was a two-year deal. Do I have any things lined up for next year? No. Do I still want to do it? 100 percent. Do I think I can do it? 100 percent. Look at what happened to Helio (Castroneves, who has returned full time this year). My question would be what if we go and win No. 2; are we coming back or not? I’m actually not announcing anything because I don’t know. My intentions are for this not to be the last one. Next year will be my 25th year in IndyCar, and I think it would be pretty cool if I could do that. We’ll see, but for now, ’22 is just Tony’s another Indy 500.”
In addition to the Indy 500, the 2004 IndyCar champion will be running 10 stock car races in his native Brazil, the six-race season in Tony Stewart’s Superstar Racing Experience (which he also raced last year) and three Porsche Cup Endurance races.
“More races than I’ve done in the past 21 years,” Kanaan said. “So quite busy
He also will be helping Johnson, whom he calls his “partner in crime” in making the transition to ovals.
“This year we have the opportunity to be teammates, and I’m really excited about that,” Kanaan said. “The guy is a master in the ovals. He won seven NASCAR championships. A lot of people were asking that question when he announced (a road and street course schedule) that it didn’t make any sense I was subbing for him on the ovals.
“It’s great for the Indy 500 and great for Jimmie. When he threw his rookie hat at the end of the year away, I said, ‘Not too soon, my friend, you’re still going to be a rookie when you get to the 500,’ which it’s pretty cool. In the team, he has plenty of support between myself, (Scott) Dixon and Dario (Franchitti). I think he will be OK.”
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) January 17, 2022