SONOMA — Tony Kanaan said the IndyCar season finale this weekend will be his last with Chip Ganassi Racing.
Asked during Friday practice about speculation concerning his future, Kanaan said it was fair to call this his final race with Ganassi.
“I haven’t picked up any talks with Chip,” Kanaan said regarding discussions of 2018. “I’ve heard the rumors he’s got a driver already for the 10.”
Kanaan was ultimately the replacement for Dario Franchitti when the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner was forced to retire following an accident. Kanaan already had a deal with Ganassi when Franchitti stepped aside, and Kanaan took over Franchitti’s spot with the team.
Kanaan has been celebrating his 20th season in IndyCar this year. The popular Brazilian is an Indianapolis 500 winner and former series champion.
Kanaan joined Ganassi in 2014, a year after winning the Indy 500 for KV Racing. It was a chance to pair one of IndyCar beloved series drivers with an upper echelon team, and Kanaan was able to step in when Franchitti’s career abruptly ended.
But Kanaan has won just one race since joining Ganassi — the season finale their first year together — and Kanaan has not challenged for the championship. His time with Ganassi has led to a winning stint in the Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona, and the opportunity to run in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ganassi has declined to discuss Kanaan’s future with the team.
Points leader Josef Newgarden led both practice sessions Friday. Holding a three-point lead entering the season finale, Newgarden’s fast lap in the second 45-minute practice session was clocked at 1 minute, 16.2485 seconds. That was under the track record established last year by Newgarden’s Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud.
Newgarden also paced the morning session with a lap of 1:16.3950.
Newgarden led a sweep by Penske drivers of the top four times with Pagenaud second, Helio Castroneves third and Will Power fourth.
“I think it was a good session for us, good two sessions, really,” said Newgarden, in his sixth Verizon IndyCar Series season and first with Team Penske. “I feel like the Penske cars are fast. I think that reflected in the times today from the whole team.”