Andretti Green Racing co-owners Michael Andretti and Kevin Savoree have admitted their delight at the news that Tony Kanaan will stay with the team after signing a multi-year extension to his contract.
The Brazilian, who had been linked with a move elsewhere for next season, put pen to paper on a new five-year contract with the team on Thursday which will see him remain as part of the AGR stable through 2013.
Kanaan has been with the team since its inception at the start of the 2003 season, and in that time, he has been to victory lane 13 times in 94 starts including last season's Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Kanaan has a series-record 63 top-five finishes and has led 62 races for a total of 2,487 laps over the past six seasons. His races led and laps led rank third and fourth all-time, respectively, in IndyCar Series competition.
"We're really excited to have this done," Andretti said. "We felt like we had a deal a long time ago with Tony with a handshake. For us that was basically him being a part of the family as long as he has, that was as quick as it was. The rest was just trying to get it on paper. It was nice to get that finished and put an end to all the rumours.
"Tony is what we consider a franchise player and one of the foundations of the team. He's part of the family. There was never a question in our mind that Tony was going to be with us for a long, long time. We're very happy that we've finally put it to bed."
Savoree added that the talks had been ongoing with Kanaan for sometime to try and secure his services beyond the end of the current season and said he thrilled to extend the deal with one of the 'founding parts' of the team.
"This really started last fall," he said. "We had a lot of discussions about not only spending his driving career here but what Tony wants to do after he's finished driving. Those were the kind of discussions that we had with him.
"Tony's been with us since the start, and we really consider him one of the founding parts of Andretti Green Racing. He's spent his career with us. He gave us our first pole and our first win and our first championship. That's the kind of relationship that we've had. Like most families, once in awhile we have our squabbles. But I promise you that the guy sitting up here, there's nobody more motivated in the sport.
"There's no one like Tony on race day. He's a team player, and that's really what his contract recognises."