Tony Kanaan is aiming to race on all of IndyCar’s oval rounds in 2021, despite the veteran driver having previously expected to wind down his time in the series.
Kanaan had announced pre-season that the 2020 campaign would be the last time he competed at any IndyCar race except the Indy 500, but restrictions on spectators thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the Brazilian’s chance to interact with fans.
The 45-year-old Brazilian has been a crowd favourite in IndyCar, and his Indy 500 victory with KV Racing in 2013 was considerably popular among the series’ fanbase.
Following the double-header at Gateway, Kanaan had been expected to draw the curtains on his time in IndyCar, but felt that his run to 19th in the second race was not a fitting conclusion.
Kanaan says his ideal scenario for 2021 would be for him to race in all oval rounds once again, saying that it would not be “fair for my fans” to depart from IndyCar in the current global circumstances.
“For my liking, I think it’s not fair that I would go out this way,” said Kanaan. “It’s not fair for my fans. It’s not fair for me. But it’s easier said than done.
“Today I approached the race as if it was my last race. I have nothing for next year; I have no sponsor, I have no team.
“Everybody that was involved with me knew about my decision – obviously I changed my mind.
“It’s going to be a challenge to try to see if I can put something together to do the same what I did this year.
“I can assure you, I’m not coming back a full season, that’s for sure. If I can put a deal together to do the five ovals again, that’s what I’m going to work on. As of now, I’m done.”
Asked about his prospects of landing a drive in 2021, the 2004 IndyCar champion said: “I have not talked to any teams yet. I actually went back to my sponsors, we set up some meetings for this week.
“I think the best approach was going to be, ‘let’s see what kind of money I can raise, then I can go talk to the teams’.
“Obviously a lot of people have heard what I’m doing. My boss actually approached me to talk this weekend.
“Things are going to develop pretty quick. I think all my sponsors are onboard as far as wanting to talk to see what extent they can do something, if they can do something.
“I would say I’m not going to wait till the end of the season. The next two weeks I probably will know something, then we’ll start talking. But we’ll see; it’s going to be really hard.
“I think after 23 years I feel pretty fortunate to be able to do this.
“It was my 384th start in IndyCar – I had a good run. I made good friends. I appreciate just to be part of it. If I’m able to move forward, fine. If not, it is what it is.”