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Ganassi signs Kanaan - and switches to Chevy

And it was exactly what it looked like: Ganassi was announcing that it was dumping Honda at the end of the season and would be switching to Chevy for 2014, putting them on an equal footing with their main rivals Penske in next year's championship.

"This decision makes a lot of sense for us for a number of reasons,” explained Ganassi. "Chevrolet has done a great job in their return to the IndyCar Series."

Ganassi added that his existing relationship with Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, where they have supplies engines for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team since 2009, was also a vital factor in the decision to switch.

"There are a lot of synergies that we will be able to realize in working with the same manufacturer across the two series," he said. "We are thrilled."

We have tremendous amount of respect for Chip, [Ganassi Racing manager] Mike Hull and the entire team for the way they've organized themselves, the way they conduct themselves and the way they deliver results," said Campbell. "Over time, nine championships in IndyCar, also four Indy 500s to date and this is a proud moment."

The decision to split from Honda was likely seeded earlier in the year after a poor start to the 2013 season for Ganassi which was at least partly due to underpowered and glitch-prone engines. Although Honda have significantly boosted their units' performance in the later half of the season - to the point where Scott Dixon is now a leading contender for the title that will be decided this month - it seems that it was too late to repair the breach between team and supplier.

Honda warned earlier this week that the series needed a third engine manufacturer to sign up, after Lotus exited IndyCar in some ignominy at the end of the 2012 season and left it as a Honda/Chevrolet duopoly.

"A third manufacturer is absolutely critical," said Honda Performance Development technical director Roger Griffiths on Wednesday. "The long-term sustainability of IndyCar needs more than just Honda and GM [General Motors, parent company of Chevrolet.]

"If you want to continue to have competition, it's very hard to keep that going if there is only two of you doing it," he added. "We don't need five people doing it, just a third competitive manufacturer would be great. A fourth would be wonderful. What it needs is quality."

The announcement was made in Houston ahead of the start of this week's double header races, with track activity delayed for several hours because of a problem dealing with a potentially dangerous bump on the track at turn 1.



Related Pictures

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In a special presentation on the yard of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 25 2013, team owner Chip Ganassi presents Alex Zanardi with the Reynard 96I/Honda car in which he won at Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca in September 1996. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Charlie Kimball is congratulated by car owner Chip Ganassi after his victory in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday, August 4 2013. (Photo Credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti celebrate with Chip Ganassi after the Pocono IndyCar 400 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, July 7 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan celebrates winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500 - Sunday, May 26 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan celebrates winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500 - Sunday, May 26 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Chip Ganassi share a lighter moment as they announce their 2014 plans. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chip Ganassi and Tony Kanaan pose with Jeffrey Womack, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at NTT DATA, Inc., during their press conference in Houston. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet`s Jim Campbell joins Tony Kanaan, and Chip Ganassi during their press conference in Houston. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais with his son after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The red flag is waived halting attempts to start Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais gets a congratulatory hug from team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway on his way to victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway jumps for joy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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