Kanaan announces plans to retire after 2020 IndyCar season

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher 

Tony Kanaan announced on Thursday that the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will be his final one. His final campaign will be his 23rd in the series. 

The 45-year-old has won the 2013 Indianapolis 500 in his career. He has also won the 2004 IndyCar Championship. 

A.J. Foyt Racing driver Tony Kanaan racing on Saturday at the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey
Tony Kanaan racing on Saturday at the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey (Photo by IndyCar Series/Chris Owens)

“I look back at all these years racing in INDYCAR and the first thing that comes to my mind is how fortunate I’ve been to be in the top level of the sport for this long. I walked into this sport as a 23-year-old with lots of hopes and dreams and I can say, without a doubt, that I accomplished everything I wanted,” Kanaan said. “I’m 45 now; I have fans, wins, podiums, records, a championship and an Indy 500. I feel and know I can still do this for a long time, but like everything else in life there is also a cycle in racing. For a long time, I’ve been asked when I would retire, and my answer was always the same: The day I wake up in the morning and feel like I can’t do this anymore, that’s when I’m going to retire.

“Unfortunately, there are other things one should take into consideration when planning the future, and probably the most important one is what are the options that are available. For 2020, my best option was to race the five ovals of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, the sport that gave me so much and that I will always love. I’m not done with racing, that’s for sure. I decided that this year I would step back a bit and enjoy these five races, have time for my family (wife Lauren, sons Leonardo, Max and Deco, and daughter Nina) and my fans, and also give back to the sponsors that always stood by me.”

The plan is for Kanaan to compete in five ovals for AJ Foyt Racing in 2020. His final campaign will begin at the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24th. 

He will then compete at the Texas Motor Speedway event on June 6th. Later in June, he will compete at Richmond Raceway on June 27th. 

His second-to-last event will come at Iowa Speedway on July 18th. Finally, his last event, will take place at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on Aug. 22.

While Kanaan announced his retirement plans, he did not close the door on one-off Indianapolis 500 appearances. However, he does not plan on competing in another partial or full-time IndyCar season. 

“For the future, who knows?” Kanaan said. “I’d love to still be involved with IndyCar to some degree. I’ve also had offers to race in a number of different series, but that’s not my priority at the moment.”

Kanaan competed in CART for five seasons before it became the IndyCar Series in 2002. He had one win in 93 races in CART over those five seasons. 

After transitioning to IndyCar, he has had 16 wins in 284 races in 18 years. Kanaan has not won a race since the MavTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, August 30th, 2014 in Fontana, California. 

He also has had 72 podiums and 10 poles in IndyCar in nearly the last two decades.

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