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“From the day I first met Ryan and he was on the race team, he had a great amount of passion and when you have that passion and that talent, you don’t want to lose that,” Ganassi team manager Mike Hull said. “You want that to be a part of your organization.”

The retirement of Franchitti and the addition of Briscoe aren’t the only major changes Ganassi is making.

In October, he announced he was dumping the Honda engine to go with Chevrolet and that he had hired Kanaan _ a move that was expected to reunite the two close friends and former teammates.

Instead, Franchitti retired and urged Kanaan to replace him in the No. 10 car.

“I didn’t know how to talk to my best friend when he broke the (retirement) news to me, and then he said `It would be really cool if you drove the Target car. I think that would make my retirement easier,’” said Kanaan, recalling the conversation. “I’m happy to do it, I’m extremely excited and it’s hard shoes to fill.”

Briscoe may have the tougher job.

Briscoe said he did get some rest Thursday night after arriving in Indy, something that will be sparse while trying to help his wife, Nicole, with a new baby and cram for his new job before the March 30 season opener at St. Petersburg, Fla.

“I feel like one of the luckiest guy out there,” he said. “I think it’s going to be an unbelievable year.”