Nearly a month after the announcement that 7-11 would not return as the primary sponsor for Tony Kannan and the #11 Andretti Autosport entry in 2011, the team announced today that they and Kanaan have reached an agreement and the current multi-year contract had been terminated. "It is difficult to believe that Andretti Autosport and Tony Kanaan will no longer be competing together, but that is now a reality with the signing of this agreement", said team owner Michael Andretti.
"When 7-Eleven notified us that they would not be returning as the primary sponsor of Tony's car in 2011, we were left with a very challenging situation. Given the timing of that notification, we felt it was important to give Tony the freedom to review his options outside of Andretti Autosport. We understand firsthand his value as a driver in this series and we did not want to prevent him from furthering his career in the event we could not arrive at a reasonable solution for him for 2011. Today we agreed that the best option for both Tony and the team is to allow him the freedom to sign with another team.
Personally, I want to thank Tony for all the effort and passion he shared with our race team and the fans during our eight seasons together and I am proud of what we accomplished. Tony deserved a chance when we signed him prior to the 2003 season and he made the most of that opportunity. He brought us our first pole, our first race win and our first championship. We were always a contender to win the Indianapolis 500, and while I'm disappointed we were never able to do that together, I am confident that Tony will win it before his career is over.
We wish Tony many wins in the future, and will always consider him a member of our Andretti Autosport family and an important part of our team's history." - Michael AndrettiAfter competing for 8-years with Andretti, Kanaan can now sign with a new team for next season, "I want to thank Michael Andretti and everyone at Andretti Autosport for eight years together." Kanaan said, "We created some great memories that I will always cherish and we have much to be proud of. I personally want to thank my guys for all their hard work over the years and for always believing in me. This is a team sport at the end of the day and I've considered it a pleasure to have you guys on my team."