Tony Kanaan will return to Chip Ganassi Racing in the No. 10 car for his fourth season in 2017. The team made the announcement today, which includes a multi-year deal with NTT DATA returning as the primary sponsor of the car. Last week the team announced they would be making the switch from Chevrolet back to Honda for the upcoming season.
“We are very happy to re-sign Tony to drive the No. 10 for us, but are just as pleased to bring a great partner like NTT DATA back to the team,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “Tony has played a strong role as one of the leaders of this team both on and off the track and we feel fortunate to have him back. NTT DATA has proved to be a fantastic partner in many different aspects of our organization. They are not only on our cars but they have also used their technological expertise to help in numerous other aspects of the race team. They have been with us for the last four years and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with them for years to come.”
Kanaan is ready for the new season as well. “I’m thrilled to be back with Chip and NTT DATA – it’s been one of the most rewarding partnerships of my career. It’s been great having a partner in NTT DATA that is so committed to making our on-track performance as strong as it can be and I think it’s really shown in our growth together over the last few years. Our 2016 season was strong, but our results didn’t always reflect our performance and we definitely have some unfinished business heading into 2017.”
The Brazilian turns 42 on New Year’s Eve, and has 17 wins, 15 poles, and 129 top-five finishes in his career. In 50 races with CGR, he has 1 win, 11 podium finishes, and added to his record of 267 consecutive starts. The Indianapolis 500 winner (2013) and IndyCar champion (2004) finished 7th, 8th, and 7th in the standings the past three years with Ganassi.
Despite not winning a race in 2016, Kanaan had a solid year. He completed 96 percent of the laps (1,986 of 2,070) and led a lap in four different races. His average starting position and average finishing position were the same (8.8) but he was consistently near the front, finishing in the top-ten in 12 of the 16 events last season. The only race he failed to finish was the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, where he was taken out before the first turn.
With Kanaan being confirmed with Ganassi, the team now has three of their four cars lined up for next season. Both Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball will be back, but they are still working with Max Chilton to see if he will remain in the No. 8 car, or possibly move to a merged team with KVSH and Carlin Racing.