Kanaan keeping options open in search for 2014 ride

Tony Kanaan says his options for next year are still open.

This year's Indianapolis 500 champion may be the latest to leave IndyCar for NASCAR.

Tony Kanaan was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Tuesday to test Firestone tires in preparation for next year's Indianapolis 500. But he may not be back to defend his title.

Kanaan is still looking for a ride for 2014 and confirmed Tuesday he has talked with Joe Gibbs Racing about a ride in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

"I think NASCAR has a lot of problems right now. A lot bigger than Tony Kanaan, I can tell you that. Right now, it's just a curiosity to see what it is," Kanaan said. "But it's not...I don't want to make you guys...I'm not making a decision here. This talk's been happening since I won the 500. Some people are a little late to the game, thinking that this is just starting right now."

Fellow Indy 500 champions Sam Hornish Jr. and Dario Franchitti, along with IndyCar star Danica Patrick, are three of the big names who have left the open wheel series for stock cars in recent years. Franchitti is the only one of the three that came back to IndyCar.

Kanaan has also reportedly had discussions with IndyCar owners Michael Andretti, Chip Ganassi and Bryan Herta about a ride next year. He could also return to his current team, KV Racing.

"I can tell you I'm a free agent, so I'm looking everywhere. The report, some people doubt it, I'm going to say it's true, that right now, I'm looking. I have nothing on the table, I'm a free agent. I'm going to explore every single option. I don't want to find myself in the same situation that I was three years ago, that I was out of a job in February," Kanaan said.

Kanaan has started an IndyCar-record 212 consecutive races and has 16 wins in his career.

"I said a million times that my heart's in IndyCar and if there is a place for me here, Tony Kanaan will be here. But if there's not, I'm going to make the decision where I'm going to go," he said.

Kanaan said he has also discussed options with people in Brazil and with the GRAND-AM series.

The IndyCar series is off until October 5-6, when they will compete in a pair of races at the Shell-Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.