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IndyCar's Andretti Autosport releases Tony Kanaan, re-signs Ryan Hunter-Reay

October 29, 2010 |  4:19 pm

Former IndyCar champion Tony Kanaan is seeking a new ride after being released Friday by the Andretti Autosport team.Kanaan

At the same time, Andretti announced a two-year contract extension for driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won this year's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the seaside streets in Long Beach, Calif. Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti also drive for Andretti Autosport.

Kanaan, the 2004 champion in what is now the Izod IndyCar Series, had been with Andretti for eight years. But his future there was jeopardized early this month when convenience-store giant 7-Eleven said it would not return as Kanaan's primary sponsor.

Reay"We were left with a very challenging situation" and ultimately decided "the best option for both Tony and the team is to allow him the freedom to sign with another team," Andretti Autosport Chairman Michael Andretti said in a statement.

"I want to thank Tony for all the effort and passion he shared with our race team and the fans," Andretti said.

Kanaan, a 35-year-old Brazilian, has 14 career IndyCar wins, including a victory this year at Iowa that was his first since June 2008. He finished sixth in the series championship standings.

--Jim Peltz

Photos: (Top) IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida on Oct. 1; Credit: Alan Diaz / Associated Press. (Bottom) Ryan Hunter-Reay after winning the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 18; Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times