By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will soon be NTT IndyCar Series bound.
Chip Ganassi Racing announced Wednesday morning they’re exploring options of having Johnson paired up with five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and compete an entire road and street course campaign for the next two seasons (2021 and 2022).
The 83-time Cup Series winner had his first IndyCar experience in July when he drove Felix Rosenqvist’s No. 10 NTT Data Honda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, which he has described as a childhood dream coming true.
While Johnson is the first confirmed newbie for next year’s grid, he’ll still need sponsorships for any competitive open wheel racing aspirations coming into fruition, but is excited of getting the first step out of the way which was finding an IndyCar team.
“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,” said Johnson, who’ll retire from full-time NASCAR racing after this season.
“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.”
Owner Chip Ganassi said in a press release that finding great drivers is always difficult, more so when there’s more than one as evident of having Dixon since 2002 and now Johnson next year.
“To pair Jimmie with the likes of Scott Dixon is quite an opportunity. They are truly in rarefied air and I think everyone knows by now that ‘I like winners,'” Ganassi said. “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
Time will tell if Ganassi will have a fourth car for Johnson, but also the statuses of Rosenqvist and Marcus Ericsson as those details weren’t brought up at this time.