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IndyCar

Kanaan announces IndyCar retirement plan

by Matt Beer
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Tony Kanaan has revealed that the 2020 IndyCar season will be his last competing in the top-level of US open-wheel racing.

The Brazilian will compete in the five oval races this season, starting with the Indianapolis 500 in May, before calling time on his 22-year career.

“I look back at all these years racing in IndyCar and the first thing that comes to my mind is how fortunate I’ve been to be in the top level of the sport for this long,” said Kanaan.

“I walked into this sport as a 23-year-old with lots of hopes and dreams and I can say, without a doubt, that I accomplished everything I wanted.”

Kanaan made his US open-wheel debut at the height of ‘the split’ in 1998. Following a five-year stint in Champ Car that brought just one win, Kanaan moved to the Indy Racing League where he enjoyed considerably more success in what was then an oval-centric series.

In just his second season in the series, Kanaan won the 2004 IRL title for Andretti Green Racing, the team where he scored all but three of his career wins.

After several near-misses, Kanaan finally won the Indianapolis 500 under caution in 2013 for KV Racing Technology.

He moved to Chip Ganassi Racing the following year but his four-year stay at the powerhouse team was largely disappointing, yielding just one win at Fontana in 2014.

His final outings will be for AJ Foyt Racing, the team he has raced for since 2018. The team has already confirmed Charlie Kimball for a full-time entry, while Kanaan’s seat is expected to be shared with fellow veteran Sebastien Bourdais and rookie Dalton Kellett.

“I’m 45 now; I have fans, wins, podiums, records, a championship and an Indy 500. I feel and know I can still do this for a long time, but like everything else in life there is also a cycle in racing,” Kanaan said.

“For a long time, I’ve been asked when I would retire, and my answer was always the same: The day I wake up in the morning and feel like I can’t do this anymore, that’s when I’m going to retire.

“Unfortunately, there are other things one should take into consideration when planning the future, and probably the most important one is what are the options that are available.

“For 2020, my best option was to race the five ovals of the IndyCar season, the sport that gave me so much and that I will always love.

“I’m not done with racing, that’s for sure. I decided that this year I would step back a bit and enjoy these five races, have time for my family (wife Lauren, sons Leonardo, Max and Deco, and daughter Nina) and my fans, and also give back to the sponsors that always stood by me.”

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