Jimmie Johnson has officially found his IndyCar team. The seven-time NASCAR Cup series champion has agreed to a two-year deal with Chip Ganassi Racing, that will allow him to have a flexible racing schedule going forward. Johnson tested with CGR on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in July, and hinted at the idea that he could look at a two-year deal to join the series. While the full IndyCar schedule is not on the table, Johnson does plan to do about 15 races next season. Expectations are that will include all of the road and street course races on the IndyCar schedule, and possibly some NASCAR Cup races and/or sportscar races.
This is a great addition for the NTT IndyCar series, and a great move for Johnson as well. With his full-time NASCAR career coming to an end, he now has a direction on where his future will be, and the opportunities that he will have. With Ganassi only fielding two full-time cars in NASCAR, there is potential for him to run a select number of events, such as the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, the latter of which he missed this season. The full press release from today is below.
[Chip Ganassi Racing Press Release]
Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) today announced a partnership with 7-Time NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Champion Jimmie Johnson that will see the 83-time NCS winner officially explore the possibility of racing a full road and street course calendar in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for the 2021 and 2022 racing seasons.
In late July, Johnson tested with CGR on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and fulfilled a childhood dream of driving an Indy car.
Johnson co-holds the NCS record with Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for most premier series championships and is the only driver to win five consecutive titles (2006-2010). Johnson’s 83 career wins is tied with Cale Yarborough for sixth all-time and is tops among active drivers.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
- About Jimmie Johnson: Johnson was born in El Cajon, Calif., and began racing motorcycles at the age of four. After graduating from high school, he competed in several off-road series including the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group (MTEG), Short-course Off-road Drivers Association (SODA) and SCORE International, winning rookie of the year in each series. In 1998, Johnson and his team, Herzog Motorsports, began stock car racing and moved to the national American Speed Association (ASA) series for late model touring cars and won another rookie of the year title. In 2000, he switched to the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS), and then to NCS for the 2002 season with Hendrick Motorsports, where he will finish his final season in 2020.
- Power Couple: If Johnson were to become a teammate of 5-Time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Scott Dixon, the duo would enter next season with a combined 12 championships and 133 wins across the NCS and NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Dixon’s five championships are second all-time in the IndyCar Series to AJ Foyt’s seven and his 50 career wins are third all-time behind only Mario Andretti (52) and AJ Foyt (67).
Jimmie Johnson: “When I tested Chip’s Indy car earlier in the year, it only lit the fire more. I found that I wanted to do it more than ever before. Scott [Dixon] was just incredible to work with and in a short time I found out very quickly why Chip and his teams have won 12 INDYCAR Championships. As part of a natural progression, I wanted to publicly show the alignment with Chip Ganassi Racing to kick the sponsorship program into high gear. The goal is to run the full road and street program and today is a very important first step in accomplishing that goal.”
Chip Ganassi: “It is always difficult to find great drivers but for them to be great guys too makes it even that much more challenging. To pair Jimmie with the likes of Scott Dixon is quite an opportunity. They are truly in rarified air and I think everyone knows by now that ‘I like winners’. The goal right now is for us to run Jimmie in an Indy car for at least the next couple of seasons, and we want to show people we’re serious about the program. We felt it was important to get the partnership done and start putting the financial building blocks in place to make this a reality. Jimmie’s record speaks for itself and we feel a championship-level driver of his caliber can only make our team better.”