7-time NASCAR champion announces partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing
Jimmie Johnson is currently in his final full-time season with the NASCAR Cup Series. Heading into 2021, the driver is looking to transition to the open cockpit.
The driver was scheduled to test an INDYCAR following the NASCAR week at Indianapolis. Ahead of that race, Johnson tested positive for COVID-19. He was forced to miss the NASCAR race and the INDYCAR test that would have directly followed.
Shortly after testing positive, Johnson tested negative. The Indycar test was then rescheduled and completed.
Following the test session, it became clear that Johnson wanted to transition to Indycar racing.
Jimmie Johnson on racing Indycar in 2021
“This is what I want to do in 2021. Now, it’s time to get to work and figure out where we can get sponsorship for the team,” Johnson stated during the video from the test which was released today.
“What I experienced today… I checked that box. This is what I want to do in 2021 and 2022.”
If sponsorship is located, Johnson would compete on the Indycar road and street circuits for the next two years.
Johnson added in today’;s press release, “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,” Johnson concluded.
Johnson has entered 677 NASCAR Cup Series races over the span of a 20 year career. He has 83 wins and 7 championship titles to his resume.
Chip Ganassi comments on Jimmie Johnson
Chip Ganassi said, “Obviously, I know Jimmie through NASCAR. He said to me, ‘You know, one of these days, I want to drive one of these Indycars.’ I said, ‘Yeah sure, whenever you want.’ I didn’t realize he was serious about it.”
“Our team couldn’t be happier that Jimmie wants to be here, wants to be with us. We’re looking forward to it. We’ll see what happens.”
Johnson has rarely explored outside of NASCAR since beginning his stock car career. Earlier this year, Johnson ran several INDYCAR iRacing events during the pandemic.
Ganassi added in today’s press release, “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,” Ganassi concluded.
Since 2011, Johnson has spent his entire NCS career at Hendrick Motorsports. However, this deal could also lead to a part-time NASCAR ride with Chip Ganassi Racing.
Hendrick Motorsports is capped at 4 cars. Once a replacement for Johnson is announced, their stable will be maxed. CGR currently fields two full-time NASCAR rides, far under the four car limit. Like Hendrick, Ganassi fields Chevrolets on the NASCAR side of the racing ladder.