INDIANAPOLIS – If the cards fall right, NTT IndyCar Series fans will see seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Jimmie Johnson on a fairly-regular basis starting next year.
Chip Ganassi Racing has announced a two-year partnership with Johnson that will see the 83-time Cup Series winner explore the possibility of racing a full road and street course calendar in the NTT IndyCar Series for both the 2021 and 2022 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. Now, he’ll look to take the next step and join the series in a regular capacity.
“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. “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 co-holds the Cup Series record with Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for most premier series championships and is the only driver to win five consecutive titles, doing so between 2006-10).
His 83 career wins is tied with Cale Yarborough for sixth all-time and ranks highest among active drivers.
Should the Johnson-CGR IndyCar partnership come to fruition, Johnson would partner Scott Dixon on the CGR squad.
If Johnson were to become a teammate of Dixon, a five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, the duo would enter next season with a combined 12 championships and 133 wins between the NASCAR Cup Series and NTT IndyCar Series.
Dixon’s five championships are second all-time in the IndyCar Series to A.J. Foyt’s seven and his 50 career wins are third all-time behind only Mario Andretti (52) and Foyt (67).
It’s a partnership that team owner Chip Ganassi is hopeful of seeing on the track in 2021.
“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,’” noted Ganassi. “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.”