CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jimmie Johnson will transition from NASCAR to IndyCar with Chip Ganassi Racing in a partnership that could pair two of the most dominant drivers of this generation on one team.
The seven-time NASCAR champion will work with the Ganassi organization to finalize sponsorship on a two-year program for Johnson to run the road and street course races on IndyCar’s schedule. If funding is secured, Johnson would be teammates with five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon.
The partnership announced Wednesday would also leave room for Johnson to compete in select NASCAR events because Ganassi fields only two cars in the Cup Series. Johnson has spent his entire 20-year Cup career driving for Hendrick Motorsports, which is currently at the four-car maximum and would not have room for Johnson after he retires from full-time NASCAR competition in November.
Johnson, who turns 45 next week, tested an Indy car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Ganassi in July.
“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,” Johnson told The Associated Press. “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.”
Landing sponsorship is critical to the deal and Johnson said his personal team has had productive conversations with potential partners as his interest in IndyCar has increased. He’s had only two primary sponsors — Lowe’s from 2001 through 2018 and Ally the last two seasons — and prefers consistent branding.
Now Johnson will attempt to fill his 2021 schedule with approximately 15 events. IndyCar’s original 2020 schedule consisted of 12 road and street course events before the pandemic forced cancellations.
“We have some options