Kanaan Back With Mo Nunn Racing for 2002 To Drive Pioneer/WorldCom-Sponsored CART Entry FONTANA, Calif. (Nov. 2, 2001) - Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan will return for his third season with Mo Nunn Racing in 2002 and will pilot the ...
Kanaan Back With Mo Nunn Racing for 2002 To Drive Pioneer/WorldCom-Sponsored CART Entry
FONTANA, Calif. (Nov. 2, 2001) - Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan will return for his third season with Mo Nunn Racing in 2002 and will pilot the team's Pioneer/WorldCom-sponsored entry in the CART FedEx Championship Series, it was announced today at this weekend's 2001 CART finale at California Speedway.
"I'm very happy to be back with Morris so we can take care of some unfinished business and start winning races," said the 26-year-old Kanaan, a veteran of four Champ Car seasons who drove the team's Hollywood-sponsored car the past two seasons. "We are still a relatively young team, but we've been knocking on the door more often than not this season. It's been a little frustrating because we have been so competitive, but I think a third season together is going to push us over the top, and I'll be very proud to do it wearing the colors of Pioneer and WorldCom. They've been so good to CART, as has Honda. We want to give Honda the best possible send-off from CART by helping them win another manufacturers championship."
Kanaan has scored 17 top-10 finishes in 35 race starts thus far for Mo Nunn Racing, including a third-place finish for the team's first-ever podium finish at Motegi last May. Kanaan also qualified on the pole at Chicago last July. Sponsor Hollywood and Mo Nunn Racing announced earlier this month that they will join forces in an Indy Racing League entry for Brazilian driver Felipe Giaffone beginning in 2002.
"A key to success in the racing business is continuity," said Morris Nunn, the veteran racing engineer of several CART champions who started his own team in December 1999. "Tony is a hard-charging young driver who was an ideal candidate to be our first driver. And we've developed an excellent working relationship the past two seasons. We exercised our option on the final year of his three-year contract with hopes that we can contend for the CART championship next season. I just want to thank Pioneer and WorldCom, and Honda, for giving us the support to pursue that goal."
Nunn engineered Emerson Fittipaldi's CART title run in 1989, which included Fittipaldi's victory in that year's Indy 500. Nunn also was technical director at Target/Chip Ganassi Racing during consecutive championship seasons by Jimmy Vasser (1996), Alex Zanardi (1997-98) and current Formula 1 star Juan Pablo Montoya (1999). Zanardi returned to CART this season to drive Mo Nunn Racing's Pioneer/WorldCom entry as a teammate to Kanaan until he was critically injured in a racing accident at the American Memorial 500 in Germany last September. Rookie Casey Mears replaced Zanardi for the final four events this season.
"As part of the Mo Nunn Racing team, we have watched Tony mature into an excellent driver and fierce competitor with the ability to take the Pioneer/WorldCom team to the podium." said Ed Sachs, executive vice president of Mobile Entertainment for Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. "We are thrilled to see him join the Pioneer family and know that Alex (Zanardi) will be pleased to see his teammate step into the Pioneer/WorldCom car. Tony is an eloquent spokesperson and one of the most engaging personalities in all of CART."
Andy Deas, responsible for WorldCom's investment in Mo Nunn Racing, added: "We just can't believe how things turn out! We're so happy to see Tony become our new driver. We look forward to all the podium finishes the team undoubtedly will achieve next season."