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Kanaan Returning to Ganassi for Another Shot at Indy Glory in Oval-Only Program

2013 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Tony Kanaan will look to make his 20th career start in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2021 after Chip Ganassi Racing signed the fan favorite to drive the No. 48 Honda entry for an oval-only program in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule.

In 2021, the multi-year deal for 2004 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Kanaan includes the 105th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 30 and the three other oval races on the schedule, complementing the 13-race road-and-street program contested by seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson in that car.

The agreement marks a homecoming to Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) for Kanaan, who drove for the powerhouse team from 2014-17. He joins six-time series champion Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson and CGR newcomer Alex Palou in the team’s lineup while sharing the No. 48 with Johnson, who is making his much-anticipated open-wheel racing debut next season.

“It’s hard to express in words how excited I am about this announcement,” Kanaan said. “When Chip and I first started to talk about the opportunity to drive the ovals and share the No. 48 with Jimmie Johnson, I couldn’t imagine that we would reach an agreement this fast.

“Chip Ganassi Racing is at the pinnacle of motorsports in North America and being able to be part of the program once again with such great drivers in their lineup is a dream come true.”

Longtime CGR and Kanaan partner NTT DATA along with Bryant, also a longtime sponsor of Kanaan and former sponsor of CGR, return to CGR. Both will have primary paint schemes, as well as associate-level relationships, on the No. 48 Honda and other CGR entries that will soon be announced.

“I've also been very fortunate to enjoy great relationships with my sponsors throughout my career and having companies like Bryant and NTT DATA supporting me once again is a testament to that,” Kanaan said. “Both Bryant and NTT DATA have been with me through different teams, wins and even life events. Being able to continue to represent these companies is truly an honor.”

Kanaan has 17 victories, 15 poles and 78 podium finishes in his 383 career NTT INDYCAR SERIES starts. He also has produced an enviable record in the Indianapolis 500, with his emotional win in 2013 among eight top-five finishes in 19 starts. He also won the pole in 2005. Kanaan has led at least one lap in 14 Indianapolis 500 races, an event record.

“As the Indy car driver market trends younger and younger, experience is something that cannot be taught – especially at the Indianapolis 500,” team owner Chip 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.

“We are very familiar with NTT DATA and Bryant over the years and are excited to have both companies back with this program. 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.”

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