Kanaan welcomes more competition in IndyCar

Tony Kanaan, a former IndyCar Series champion, welcomes the new teams and drivers from the former Champ Car series, a long-awaited merger he says will help restore the popularity of open-wheel racing in the United States.

"I'm probably one of the few guys that's been on both sides, so I couldn't wait to hear the news," Kanaan said Wednesday. "I think it's great. I do believe we have a lot of work to do, though."

The Brazilian driver came to the Indy Racing League with Andretti Green Racing in 2003 after five years in CART, the Champ Car predecessor. With last week's announcement of the unification of the two major open-wheel series in the United States, at least eight more cars, and possibly as many as a dozen, are expected to join the IRL's top series this season.

"It's going to be a big transition time for all of us, especially the Champ Car teams," said Kanaan, the IndyCar champion in 2004. "But also for the series adapting, changing some things not just this year but for the future. But the biggest thing is it's done. It's up to us now. No more excuses from anybody, the race community, the journalists, drivers, teams.

"We have one goal now, to make the series grow more and more and more each year, which we haven't been doing in the IRL for many years. … So let's go race."

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