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Jimmie Johnson, Tony Kanaan unveil No. 48 paint scheme for Indy 500

Jimmie Johnson and the other IndyCar rookies look back on their journeys to the league and talk about what it's been like preparing for their first season.

Though he won’t be piloting the No. 48 Dallara-Honda in the Indy 500, Jimmie Johnson helped Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Tony Kanaan unveil the car’s paint scheme Thursday.

The American Legion colors were uncovered in a series of lighthearted social media videos by Johnson and Kanaan, who will be driving the car on ovals this season.

“I’m excited to work with The American Legion this year,” Kanaan said in a release. “Jimmie and I had some fun filming the unveil videos. This livery is really sharp looking, and I’m so happy to be running my 20th Indianapolis 500 in it. The American Legion is an important resource for veterans in helping make sure they get the benefits they have earned through their service, and I am proud to represent them, and all veterans.”

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Kanaan, who is the 2013 Indy 500 winner, will be making his 20th start in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

He drove the Ganassi entry Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he turned his first laps since last August at World Wide Technology Raceway. The test, which will continue Friday, was cut short after 90 minutes by rain but didn’t dampen his enthusiasm.

“Awesome day,” said Kanaan, who drove for Ganassi from 2014-17. “I haven’t been in the car for nine months. This deal has been brewing for so long and seeing pictures of Jimmie and the guys at the track for so long and now it finally became my turn.

“So, a really positive day – short day – but it was a good day. The only thing we can’t control in this place is the weather. I would have loved to have done a few more laps but the car felt comfortable. It’s like riding a bike.

“Coming back to Ganassi, everybody is still here. That goes to show how solid the team is. People that were here four years ago when I left are still here. It honestly like I just came back and never left. That is a good feeling and it’s one less thing that I will have to adapt to. I’m working with Eric (Cowdin) my engineer, and we have been together for 23 years. It was a good day – every day at the racetrack is a good day.”

Kanaan also will be driving an American Legion car in the May 2 race at Texas Motor Speedway.

“Just like each one of our military branches, The American Legion will always have and utilize our traditional seal which has deep meaning to each and every Legionnaire,” Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer for The American Legion, said in a release. “Our new marketing logo on the No. 48 Honda livery looks fantastic and provides a modern and contemporary expression for the brand. The American Legion name is clearly visible and honors our nation’s veterans while still honoring who we are as an organization.”

Johnson will be driving the No. 48 in the 13 road and street course races this season with sponsorship from Carvana. He will make his NTT IndyCar Series debut in the April 18 season opener at Barber Motorsports Park.