Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson has confirmed he will not compete in a second full-time IndyCar race after this year’s campaign.
Johnson joined Ganassi for the first time last year, competing exclusively in street and road course events. He added oval rounds to his schedule this year and took his best results in those, placing fifth in Iowa and sixth in Texas. In his Indianapolis 500 debut, he led two laps before crashing.
But the long-time oval racer has found it difficult to get results on road and street courses in his second season. Johnson’s best result away from the Oval is 16th, just one place better than he managed last year. He finished the year 21st, ahead of only four other full-time drivers, while his three Ganassi teammates all finished in the top six.
Johnson confirmed his decision not to continue in a video posted on social media. “I’ve spent the last week trying to figure out what my 2023 calendar will look like — plus my family and my thoughts,” he explained. “And in that process, I’m at a point where I’m very pleased with the achievements I’ve made in running the full-time program in 2022.”
The 47-year-old said he started the season expecting to want to compete beyond 2022. “This experience is always for my reasons. I decided to do it, I had a lot of people asking for it, but I wanted to chase my first ride and race in the IndyCar series. And as soon as this year started, I really felt like I wanted more years, I wanted to keep going.
But during this time I had to reflect and feel a sense of fulfillment from my full-time season and all the accomplishments and experiences I was able to achieve. I am here today to say that I will not be racing full-time in 2023.
He is still looking for opportunities to continue the competition in some form next year. “I’m not saying I’m out of racing cars or not racing at all,” Johnson said. I’m still very interested in competing, but from a full-time perspective and the things that it takes and the energy, the effort, the time away from home, all the commitment that it takes to be the best full-time, I’m not there right now.
“I feel like 2022 has checked so many boxes and I’ve had such an amazing time that I’m taking a deep breath and thinking hard about what ’23 might look like. I’m still working on my bucket list to race and the 24 Hours of Le Mans is still there for me. I love sports car racing, I love IndyCar racing. I’ve always been curious if there might be a one-time event in NASCAR that would suit me or work for me. So it’s all still in play and I expect a race somewhere next year.
“Thankfully, I have options. I had a great time at Chip Ganassi Racing and I know Chip doesn’t want to see me go anywhere. I’m definitely looking at some options there. I’ve had amazing support from Carvana and I’m sure they want to stay in touch and be there for that ride as long as I’m behind the wheel of the car. And I want to thank my fans for all the support they’ve given me. And again, this isn’t a goodbye, this is to find some new projects and keep looking for new ways to challenge myself.
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