Tony Kanaan will once again be back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May as he tries to qualify for his 21st Indianapolis 500. The 2013 Indy 500 winner will return to the Ganassi stable, in a fifth entry for the team with backing from the American Legion.
Kanaan was originally planning on running all of the oval races once again in 2022 but with Jimmie Johnson committing to run the full season this year, his plans changed. “I’m really happy to be back,” said Kanaan. “Obviously with my partner in crime Jimmie doing a full season, a lot of people were asking questions, but it was never a doubt that we were finally going to race together.”
“Some people didn’t realize that we shared a car last year, but I never really raced with Jimmie. This year we have the opportunity. We were teammates but really not because when I was in the car he wasn’t and vice versa. Pretty excited about that.” The 2005 series champion said that for now, his only IndyCar plans this year revolve around the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. He still has more on his plate in other areas of motorsports though.
“I have a pretty busy schedule. I’m doing ten stock car races in Brazil, six SRX races with Tony Stewart during the summer, and three Porsche Cup races, endurance races. More races than I’ve done in the past 21 years. We obviously have 17 on the schedule in IndyCar. Never had much time to do anything else. So quite busy.” The 47-year old also let it be known that this will not be his swan song.
“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. My question would be what if we go and win number two, are we coming back or not? I’m actually not announcing anything because I don’t know. I can tell you my intentions are this year’s 500 will not 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. 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.”
The fan favorite has quite the resume at Indy. In addition to his lone victory, he has a pole, eight total top-five finishes, and has led 346 laps in the race. Last year he qualified 5th and finished 10th in his return to the Ganassi team.
Kanaan showed well in his three other starts last season, going from 23rd to 11th in the first race at Texas Motor Speedway, and finishing 15th in the second race. After his top-ten run at Indy, he finished 13th at Gateway but did not lead any laps in his four starts. He did improve his finishing position from where he started at all four rounds.