Tony Kanaan is the 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner, past champion and a fan favorite on the IZOD IndyCar circuit. He’s searching for sponsorship to try and stay with the series he’s been with for a decade and loves. But what if another team from another discipline offered him a paying ride where all he had to bring was his helmet, talent and personality?
RACER has learned that Joe Gibbs Racing has made the popular Brazilian an offer to run Nationwide in 2014, with a chance to move to Sprint Cup for one of NASCAR’s best operations.
Kanaan was reportedly on his way to Brazil and couldn’t be reached for comment and J.D. Gibbs didn’t return a phone call, but a source close to the Gibbs’ team revealed that T.K. had spent most of Tuesday at the Gibbs’ shop in Charlotte.
Kanaan has talked with Chip Ganassi about his fourth seat, Michael Andretti if free agent James Hinchcliffe departs, Bryan Herta’s second car and continues to be a candidate to stay at KV Racing, where he’s been the past three seasons. But, in a story on RACER.com three weeks ago, Kanaan was understandably miffed that every team he’s talked to about a job needs him to bring money.
“At this point in my life, if you still have to prove yourself you make have to re-think what you are doing,” he said on Aug. 20. “I love open-wheel but maybe I need to look at NASCAR as an option.”
The last time the Indy 500 winner didn’t return to defend his title after switching to another series was Dario Franchitti in 2008, following his move to NASCAR.