Jimmie Johnson will not race full-time in 2023; leaves open the possibility of returning to Ganassi

Jimmie Johnson race 2023

Jimmie Johnson race 2023

While unsure of his plans for next year, Jimmie Johnson will not be racing full-time in 2023 and will be cutting back on his schedule after completing a full 17-race NTT IndyCar Series season.

“It was a difficult decision for me, but in my heart I know it’s the right one,” Johnson said in a statement Monday morning. “I’m not exactly sure what the next chapter will contain, but if a meaningful opportunity presents itself, I’ll consider it. I still have a list of race events I would like to attend. Competing in IndyCar at this level was a great experience.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better team than Chip Ganassi and Chip Ganassi Racing. Everyone has been working extremely hard for the last two seasons and pushing every week to get the best performances out of me. The support from my crew and teammates Dario (Franchitti), Scott (Dixon), Tony (Kanaan), Marcus (Ericsson) and Alex (Palou) was beyond anything I could have ever asked for.”

WHAT’S NEXT FOR JIMMIE JOHNSON: An analysis of his racing options for the 2023 season

Johnson drove the #48 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing and finished 21st in the 2022 points standings with a career-best fifth place finish on July 24 at Iowa Speedway.

After only driving street and road courses for Ganassi in 2021, the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion added ovals this year. In his Indy 500 debut, he qualified 12th and finished 28th after a late crash.

While he won’t be racing the full IndyCar schedule, Johnson could return with Ganassi, perhaps exclusively on ovals.

“We fully support Jimmie,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a statement. “He was a valued member of our team and if we can find a way to continue working together, we’d love to do that.”

During IndyCar’s season finale race weekend, Johnson told reporters Sept. 9 that he plans to explore his options with his wife, Chandra, and daughters, Evie and Lydia. Johnson to the Associated Press that his family is considering living abroad for a year or twoand has toyed with the idea of ​​competing in the World Endurance Championship sportscar series because of its international locations.

Johnson hasn’t ruled out IndyCar and IMSA sportscars or even a cameo in NASCAR next year. Since retiring from full-time NASCAR after the 2020 season, he has competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance races (including Saturday’s Petit Le Mans season finale) in the #48 Ally Cadillac. Johnson also wants to start at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and is a prime candidate for entry into Garage 56 (a joint venture between NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports).

Johnson told the AP he’s interested in becoming the latest driver to attempt “The Double,” racing both the Coca-Cola 600 and Indy 500 on the same day (the last being Kurt Busch in 2014).

“You know me and endurance sports, and ‘The Double’ sounds great,” Johnson, a four-time Coke 600 winner, told AP. “I’ve always had this respect for the guys who made ‘The Double.’ I’d say it’s more of a matter of respect than an item on the bucket list and I’d like to put some energy into this idea and see if I can pull it off.”

It is less likely to return to IMSA’s endurance events as the top prototype series is being overhauled, limiting the stock available for the new LMDh cars in the renamed GTP division.

Johnson has confirmed he will retain main sponsor Carvana, who has backed him at IndyCar for the past two years. He announced his decision on Monday in the final episode of “Reinvent the Wheel” Carvana Racing’s eight-part documentary about its 2023 season.

“I’m grateful for the partnership with a company like Carvana that has allowed me to embark on this journey in IndyCar, that I see the value of our partnership and that I’m open to future opportunities together,” said Johnson. “They really showed me that there are no finish lines in life. As well as Carvana, The American Legion, Ally, cbdMD and Frank August were there every step of the way and I couldn’t have done it without them all. Most importantly – and the true rock stars in all of this – my family, Chani, Evie and Lydia. You have always allowed me to pursue my dreams and we are all really excited about what the future holds for all of us. I have enjoyed every minute of these last two years.”

Ryan Keeton, Carvana co-founder said: “Working with Jimmie Johnson over the past two years has been amazing. Our team admires his passion, hard work and commitment to continuous improvement while having fun, and we look forward to continuing to support him in this new chapter next year.”

Jimmie Johnson will not race full-time in 2023; leaves open the possibility of returning to Ganassi originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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