Conflicting reports: Tony Kanaan may or may not be close to deal with Chip Ganassi Racing

Jerry Markland

The defending winner of the Indianapolis 500 appears set to remain in the IndyCar Series next season as the Brazilian is set to join Chip Ganassi Racing.

Update: The AP report was denied by both Kanaan and KV Racing's Jimmy Vasser in a story posted by the Indianapolis Star's Curt Cavin.

In the follow-up report, Kanaan said he didn't have a deal one way or the other while Vasser says that two deals have been made to his driver. Vasser was also quoted as wanting to "keep the band together," referencing the team that Kanaan has worked with throughout his career, including lead engineer Eric Cowdin.

Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan appears to have finally found a home for next season as the Associated Press has learned that the 2004 IndyCar Series champion has landed at Chip Ganassi Racing.

The move is not official as the contract has not yet been signed but two sources familiar with the veteran racer's plan confirmed that the popular Brazilian will remain in the IndyCar Series with Ganassi next season.

Despite winning his first Indy 500 in May, Kanaan was faced with the reality that he may not be able to continue in IndyCar next season as the 38-year-old was struggling to acquire the sponsorship commitments required to compete.

His current team, KV Racing offered Kanaan a deal where he would not have to bring his own money but he rejected the deal.

Kanaan had been weighing his options, having toured the Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR shop earlier this month and also being linked to joining the Brazilian stock car ranks alongside his best friend and former teammate, Rubens Barrichello.

Kanaan had competed in the Grand-Am race for Ganassi Racing at Indianapolis over the summer and had denied that it would lead to a future partnership saying that he was merely doing the team a favor.

Instead, it appears that it was inadvertently the beginning of a new relationship in the IndyCar Series. Kanaan is now set to join an IndyCar program that features six championships between Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon.

His team will likely work alongside the one that features Charlie Kimball at the Ganassi Brownsburg, Ind. race shop. Kimball recently scored his first IndyCar victory this season at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Aug.

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