Ever since it leaked out that Tony Kanaan was unlikely to re-sign at KV Racing Technology for another season in the IndyCar Series, speculation and rumour had swirled suggesting that he was in negotiations to join the Ganassi squad in 2014.
On Friday, the rumours became fact as Chip Ganassi confirmed that he had signed the 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion to drive a fourth car for his team, putting him alongside Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball next season. But the expected announcement was quickly outshone by a stunning postscript regarding Ganassi changing engine supplier at the end of the year, which will see Kanaan continuing his relationship with Chevrolet.
“I couldn't be happier to join this organisation," said Kanaan about his new deal. "They are the gold standard that all IndyCar teams measure themselves against.
"Chip has created a fantastic organisation that judges success by just one thing: winning both races and championships," he explained. "I can't wait for next year to get here. This is a very big day for me."
“It is not all the time that you can find yourself as an owner with drivers that represent seven championships, five Indianapolis 500 victories and over 75 wins," said Chip Ganassi. "I think TK will add a lot to this organisation, not only from his talent behind the wheel but also from his leadership skills off the track."
Ganassi added that this had been no overnight deal but had been something that the two parties had been hoping to pull off for the last five years, and now the stars had finally aligned to allow Kanaan to drive for the "team he was destined to join," as the 38-year-old Brazilian put it thanks to primary sponsorship from NTT DATA.
Ganassi originally offered Kanaan a race seat in August 2008, but Kanaan opted instead to sign a contract extension with his then-current team Andretti-Green Racing. Kanaan was subsequently forced out of the team in 2010 after the loss of a key sponsor left AGR unable to retain him, and Kanaan was only given a last-minute reprieve by an offer from former team mate turned team owner Jimmy Vasser to join KVR for 2011.
However a relative lack of success with KVR which saw him win just won race in three seasons - albeit the race of his dreams, this year's Indy 500 in May - left Kanaan restless for new horizons and keen to reconnect with Ganassi.
But just when the assembled journalists thought that the press conference was over there was an unexpected arrival in the form of Chevrolet's vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, Jim Campbell. Given that Ganassi has been Honda's flagship team in IndyCar since the return of multiple engine manufacturers to the championship at the start of 2012, this was a surprise to say the least.