Johnson to step back from full time racing in 2023, details on what’s next

INDIANAPOLIS — Jimmie Johnson’s worn out. When he decided to step away from his seat in the No. 48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports at the completion of the 2020 season, he never expected to be as busy as he’d be in 2022.

Johnson ran part-time in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series season as well as the endurances races in IMSA including the 24 Hours of Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta. However, he desired to run the Indy 500 and with doing so, why not run the full slate in INDYCAR for 2022?

So that’s exactly what he did. However, he quickly found himself as busy now as he was when he left NASCAR. While it wasn’t 38 weekends of work, it was over half a year’s worth for a driver that wasn’t ready to bite off more than he could chew.

17 INDYCAR races, a full Month of May, testing, sim work, IMSA starts, etc, it was becoming too much. So Johnson elected to scale back his efforts now in 2023.

Johnson announced on Monday that while he doesn’t know what his schedule will hold for 2023, it won’t be a full-time endeavor in any racing series.

Jimmie Johnson is ready to step away from so much racing in 2023. Photo Credit: INDYCAR Media Site

“I’ve made the decision that I will not compete full-time in 2023,” Johnson said in a statement. “This was a difficult choice for me, but in my heart I know it’s the right one.

“I’m not exactly sure what the next chapter holds, but if an opportunity comes along that makes sense I will consider it. I still have a bucket list of racing events I would like to take part in. Competing at this level in INDYCAR has been a dream come true. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to race for than Chip Ganassi and Chip Ganassi Racing. Everyone worked extremely hard for the last two seasons, pushing to get the best performances out of me every single week. The support from my crew and teammates Dario (Franchitti), Scott (Dixon), Tony (Kanaan), Marcus (Ericsson) and Alex (Palou) went above and beyond anything I could have ever asked for.

“I’m thankful for the partnership with a company like Carvana for allowing me to take this journey in INDYCAR, for seeing the value in our partnership and being open to future opportunities together. They have truly showed me that there are no finish lines in life. Along with Carvana, The American Legion, Ally, cbdMD and Frank August were there every step of the way, and I couldn’t have done it without all of them.

“More importantly – and the true rock stars in all of this – (is) my family, Chani, Evie and Lydia. They have always allowed me to chase my dreams, and we are all just really excited about what the future holds for all of us. We have enjoyed every minute of these last two years, (and) 2022 checked so many boxes for me personally, and I am truly fulfilled.

Team owner Chip Ganassi said he is “fully supportive” of Johnson’s decision.

“He has been a valued member of our team and if we can find a way to continue working together we would like to do so,” he said.

Ryan Keeton, Carvana’s co-founder and chief brand officer, said Johnson has been “so amazing to collaborate with.”

“Our team admires his passion, hard work and commitment to continuous improvement while also having fun, and we look forward to continuing to support him next year in this new chapter,” he said.

Johnson would like in a sense to race a NASCAR event or two. He’s wants to race the big IMSA events including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Of course, he wants to race the Indy 500 so by scaling back, he can run all the big races and pick and choose what he wants.

I wouldn’t be shocked to see Johnson in the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Daytona 500, Sebring, Long Beach, the Indy 500/Coke 600 double, Le Mans, etc.

The thing is, ovals is where he made his biggest mark with both top 10’s coming on them (Texas, Iowa), him making the Fast 12 for the Indy 500 and leading laps at Iowa.

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