Robin says Kanaan's the Target

Posted by Iannucci | 8/07/2008 | 14 comments »
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Warning: Robin Miller's mic is set to “on”.

Tony Kanaan is the most valuable player at Andretti Green Racing, but he’s also the most valuable free agent in American open-wheel racing and Chip Ganassi is poised to snap up the 2004 Indy Racing League champion. has learned that Ganassi has made a multi-year offer for Kanaan to join Scott Dixon at Target/Ganassi Racing starting in 2009 and the 33-year-old veteran is expected to sign the contract in the near future.

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While this isn’t exactly a far-fetched idea, by no means has this been confirmed as fact. However, just to entertain the idea – and it is very entertaining – consider the following fallout:

- For the series it would be 2006 all over again, as AGR is probably out of the championship picture without Kanaan. It’s not so much that the remaining Andretti Green drivers are untalented, but that they have a combined two wins among them.

- Kanaan’s replacement could come from within the Andretti Green family. The AGR team already has talented young drivers in Raphael Matos (Indy Lights) and Franck Montagny (ALMS), but if they really want a driver they’re familiar with they could always go with the ageless John Andretti. Not that we should hold our breath on that one.

- Dan Wheldon goes…where? His lack of success on non-ovals could prove to be his undoing at TCGR, although for all of his struggles he still finds a way to be in the Top 5 in points. If he doesn’t bring any sponsorship his only hope would be that Roger Penske would take Dan over Ryan Briscoe. Briscoe has looked better on road courses and is probably cheaper, but Wheldon has won at Indy. Otherwise – pick a team, any team. Just not one of the Big Three.

- The AGR humor quotient goes to zero. Remember that goofy bunch in 2004 with Franchitti, Kanaan, Wheldon and Herta? Yeah, that would close the book on that. When Danica Patrick is the most amusing member of your race team, well, you’re not very funny.

- What about Alex Lloyd? Does anyone remember him?

Anyhow, flap you gums about the possible repercussions of this at your own risk since Kanaan could still stay at AGR.

(Thanks to pressdog - who has Robin on speed dial - for the tip.)

FLASHBACK: From July 12th, at

Wheldon plans to remain with Ganassi Racing

Dan Wheldon said Saturday that he has agreed to terms with Chip Ganassi on a multiyear contract that will keep them partnered in the IndyCar Series for 2009.

The document with Ganassi Racing has not been signed, Wheldon said prior to the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway, but he is confident it will be soon.

"It's just a matter of the lawyers putting it on paper and getting it signed," he said.

Ganassi declined comment.

UPDATE: The intrepid Curt Cavin says "The Question is Moot!"

Tony Kanaan signs five-year contract with Andretti Green Racing


  1. pressdog // August 07, 2008 9:20 AM  

    OMG, I had overlooked the AGR humor decline if Tone moves. DAMN. You'd have to mark this down ad Driver #2, at least, that Mike has driven from the team (Dario, anyone?). This would be a hugely tough call for Tony. Stay at AGR and be third fiddle behind the kids or go to TCG and run for an Indy Car and Indy 500 championship. Hmmmmmm. Wait. Give me a minute to think bout that one. Do you think, if this happens, Wheldon will "hold out for a quality ride"?

  2. Fred Hurley // August 07, 2008 9:34 AM  

    IF this is legit, a few things:

    1.) According to Felix Sabates, when Chip closed down Dario's Cup team, he offered Dario an IndyCar ride if he wanted it. Let's say Dario said no. Does Tony take that seat, meaning Dan (who was literally confirmed as staying at TCGR a few weeks ago) might stay, with Chip going to three cars?

    2.) Or does it mean Dan really is out, but Dario might come back, if Tony's in the picture (they're buddies)?

    3.) Wheldon COULD end up with a smaller team, but one with promise. HVM has gotten better results than many have noticed, with the talented by brash Viso. Sound familiar? Telented? Brash? Willing to stick the nose into the smallest lane possible? Wheldon five years ago? Just sayin'. Also, Newman Haas or KV could get creative, and add an oval ace to their teams that can already challenge the big 3 on road courses.

  3. Carrie // August 07, 2008 9:52 AM  

    Tabernus: I'm glad someone else mentioned Shoeboy being confirmed to have re-signed with TCGR. I knew I'd heard or read it somewhere but couldn't remember where.

    FWIW regarding Tony: I just don't see anywhere for him to go where he'd be the number one. At least nowhere that would help him have a real shot at the championship or winning races. Sad, but true.

    He would have had that chance at AGR except for the kids. And it's sad that he's getting screwed over by AGR because of that. It also serves AGR right that they are in the boat they are in for going for style over substance.

  4. Anonymous // August 07, 2008 10:05 AM  

    Maybe Wheldon could help Luczo Dragon put together enough sponsorship to run a full season next year.

  5. EnsErmac // August 07, 2008 10:17 AM  

    My guess is a 3rd car for TCGR, don't forget that Wheldon is really good friends with Kanaan. I think that Chip feels he can run three teams with competent drivers. The last time he tried and failed he had Scheckter and Manning wrecking underpowered cars weekly.

  6. Anonymous // August 07, 2008 11:20 AM  

    i'll cheer for TK wherever he goes. i miss the "glory days" (humor) of AGR. i don't cheer for agr anymore like i used to... only TK. if he goes so goes one more AGR fan. good luck TK... i hope you go somewhere you're appreciated!

  7. Anonymous // August 07, 2008 11:26 AM  

    Wheldon to NASCAR? Haw haw haw...

  8. Carrie // August 07, 2008 11:49 AM  

    Jeff: Thanks for that addendum. So as of 7/12, Shoeboy was intending to re-sign but Cheap wasn't talking. Hmm... wouldn't surprise me if Chip left Dan hanging the rest of the season and dumped him. I'm still thinking there was bad blood about Dario getting the NASCAR ride over Dan.

    'Course I'm sure Dan sees that as a blessing now.

    I miss AGR's Four Musketeers as well. Those were the glory days for me because those guys made me an IRL fan.

  9. H. B. Donnelly // August 07, 2008 8:23 PM  

    Curt Cavin says Kanaan's with AGR for five more years. That's what happens when real journalists check out the story.

  10. pressdog // August 08, 2008 4:11 AM  

    Real journalists get the scoop fist. Tony flip-flopped. From Miller's follow up: "It's unbelievable," said (Chip) Ganassi. "I talked to him (Kanaan) on Wednesday night and he said we were fine, we were great and we're a go. Then I get a call from his agent who says Tony has flipped and he's staying with AGR. He said something about Tony not liking one of the clauses in the contract but I didn't change anything." That being said, somebody, maybe Tony himself, may have played Robin like a fiddle to get a better deal.

  11. Anonymous // August 08, 2008 5:14 AM  

    Robin Miller never lets the facts get in the way of a good story.

  12. The SpeedGeek // August 08, 2008 8:20 AM  

    I don't think that Robin was negligent in any way on this. I'm with the 'Dog on that (or at least, that's what I'm reading into your post...). He reported what he had, and then the story changed within 24 hours. Whether or not Robin influenced the eventual outcome is open for debate, but as Cavin has explained in his Q&A and on the radio show, he and Robin work to two different variations on the rules of journalism. Robin requires one (usually reliable) source, while Curt requires at least two. Curt will be wrong less of the time, but Robin sure gets to some interesting stuff first, doesn't he?

  13. Anonymous // August 08, 2008 9:05 AM  

    I think the comments about "real journalists" need to be better informed. Until you're in a position where you NEED to get a scoop, you probably aren't in a position to know the process of getting it in the first place. Getting exclusives and scoops is a process that is similar to a baseball batting average... if you are right three times out of ten you're doing a fantastic job.

    Look, I'm the first to rag on Robin for a lot of things but I've been played enough by supposedly reliable sources that I can't fault him for being wrong with this latest exclusive. Looks as though Ganassi got punk'd as badly as Robin did.

    The only reason guys like Cavin don't have egg on their face today like Robin does is because they didn't get a chance to publish the rumor before the situation turned. Luck of the draw.

  14. H. B. Donnelly // August 08, 2008 1:18 PM  

    'Dog and co. are right, and I made a bit of a knee-jerk reaction (i don't always think highly of Robin, naturally). Turns out Kanaan duped everyone and AGR seems to have made a bit of a coup. I'm really curious to see what kind of big incentive AGR threw in there to convince TK to stay...