Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson has confirmed he will not contest a second full-time IndyCar season after this year’s campaign.
Johnson joined Ganassi for his debut in the season last year, during which he only contested the road and street course events. He added the oval rounds to his schedule this year and took his best results on those, placing fifth at Iowa and sixth at Texas. He also led two laps on his debut in the Indianapolis 500 before crashing out.
But the long-time oval racer found results harder to come by in his second season on road and street courses. Johnson’s best result away from an oval was 16th, only one place better than he managed last year. He ended the year 21st in the standings, ahead of just four other full-time drivers, while his three Ganassi team mates all finished in the top six.
Johnson confirmed his decision not to continue in a video posted on social media. “I spent the last week-plus with my family and certainly with my thoughts, just trying to understand what my 2023 calendar might look like,” he explained. “And through that process, I’m really at a point where I’m feeling very satisfied with the accomplishments that I had in 2022 in running the full-time schedule.”
The 47-year-old said he began the season expecting he would want to race on beyond 2022. “This experience, for me, has always been one for my reasons. I decided to do this, made a lot of people question it, but I wanted to chase my original journey and run in the IndyCar series. And I truly felt like, as this year started, that I would want more years, that I’d want to continue on.
“But through this period of time I’ve had to reflect and feeling as full as I do from my full-time season of racing and the accomplishments I was able to have and certainly the experiences I was able to have. I’m here to say today that I will not compete full-time in 2023.”
He is still exploring opportunities to continue racing in some form next year. “I’m not saying that I’m out of a race car or not competing at all,” Johnson explained. “I still very much have the desire to compete but from a full-time standpoint and what’s required and the energy, effort, time away from home, all that makes all the commitments required to be your best for a full-time season, I’m just not there right now.
“I feel like 2022 checked so many boxes for me and I had such an incredible time that I’m going to take a deep breath and think hard about what ’23 might look like. I’m still working on my bucket list of races to compete in and 24 Hours of Le Mans is still out there for me. I love sports car racing, I love IndyCar racing. I’ve always been curious if there might be a one-off event in NASCAR that might fit for me or work for me. So all of that is still in play and I really do anticipate racing somewhere next year.”
“Thankfully, I do have options. I’ve had the best time at Chip Ganassi Racing and I know that Chip doesn’t want to see me go anywhere. I’m certainly looking at some options there. I’ve had the amazing support from Carvana and I know as long as I’m behind the wheel of a car, I feel certain that they want to continue the relationship and be there for that journey. And I certainly want to thank the fans for all their support. And again, this isn’t a goodbye, this is I’m going to find some new projects and continue to find new ways to challenge myself.”
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