In the wake of four-time IndyCar Series Champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winning driver Dario Franchitti's forced retirement a month ago, the IndyCar driver market was spun into a frenzy. Rumored candidates from around the world included Formula 1, un-employed IndyCar drivers, employed IndyCar drivers and would-be rookies from the Indy Lights Series emerged, but team owner Chip Ganassi decided to promote from within.
Ganassi moved Tony Kanaan, who was recently signed to pilot the team's #8 NTT DATA sponsored Chevrolet, up to the coveted Target #10 while re-signing two-time former CGR driver Ryan Briscoe to take over Kanaan's abandoned Dallara.
“I’m extremely excited, but this is a very bittersweet day for me as many of you know," said Kanaan. "On one hand I’m driving for the Target Team and couldn’t be more thrilled about the possibilities for next season. On the other hand I’m taking over the seat my good friend Dario had to leave. I was looking forward to reuniting with him more than anything as a teammate. I want to thank NTT DATA, Target and TNT Energy drink for looking at the big picture and making adjustments so that Scott, Ryan, Charlie and I can go out and get the job done for all our partners on track next season. The teamwork that has been shown here is a true reflection of Chip’s style as an owner. I can’t wait to get started.”
Briscoe returns to the team in which he has driven for on two occasions. The Australian contested his rocky rookie season with the team in 2005 and returned last May to finish 12th in a one-off NTT DATA ride.
“Honestly, it is always refreshing when you have partners that get the big picture and both Target and NTT DATA both understand that," Briscoe said. "This is the best of both worlds. We not only get the driver that we wanted to add to our team in Ryan Briscoe but in addition we are able to put them in the cars that I felt were the most appropriate. The news couldn’t really be better for all of our teams.”
Kanaan will team with defending series champion Scott Dixon in the Target stable while Briscoe joins race winner Charlie Kimball at Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.