NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson moving to IndyCar with Chip Ganassi Racing

Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Jimmie Johnson is set to make the move to the Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar team on a two-year deal starting next year, a deal that leaves the door open for future NASCAR Cup Series races.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson announced last November that the 2020 season would be his 19th and final season as a full-time driver in the sport but that he would not be retiring altogether from racing.

Johnson has long been vocal about his desire to compete in IndyCar races once his full-time Cup Series career is in the rearview mirror, and after having two tests canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, he finally got the opportunity to drive an open-wheel car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for Chip Ganassi Racing in late July.

Now the longtime driver of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet is officially set to move to IndyCar beginning next season on a two-year deal driving a Honda-powered car for Chip Ganassi’s team.

He and the team are still piecing together the funding to run an entry for him in the road and street courses over the course of the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

The 44-year-old El Cajon, California native confirmed this news on Twitter.

Here is what he had to say about the matter, according to the Associated Press.

"“Ganassi was highly motivated to give me a chance to drive a car to see what I thought and the experience was all that I hoped for and more. I left a good impression with them where there’s definitely interest on their side and now it’s time to formalize things and get the ball rolling.“We have some options that are interested in taking those primary rights for all 12 races, but there could be a scenario where you break it off into three-to-four race blocks for sponsors in areas that are most important for them. But our goal is definitely to sell the primary spot to one and have that consistent look that I’ve had throughout my career. I personally would love to continue that.”"

Notably, this move leaves the door open for Johnson to compete in select Cup Series races, as Chip Ganassi Racing are one of only two teams that compete in both IndyCar and NASCAR. They only run two cars on a full-time basis in the Cup Series and could field a third entry for him when and where needed.

Johnson is slated to become a teammate to five-time IndyCar champion, possibly soon-to-be six-time IndyCar champion, Scott Dixon once he officially joins the team next year. The team’s other two full-time drivers are currently Felix Rosenqvist and Marcus Ericsson.

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Throughout his Cup Series career, Johnson has won 83 races, tied for sixth place on the all-time wins list, in 677 starts. His seven championships are tied for the all-time record with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.