Former IndyCar Series Champion to Team up With Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Car in 2021

Published 11/24/2020, 5:00 AM EST
Concord, North Carolina, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) races during the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It has already been established that Jimmie Johnson is set to race on the IndyCar road courses. However, he is set to share driving duties with Tony Kanaan in 2021 at Chip Ganassi Racing.

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In other words, Kanaan will take over the reins of the #48 car in the remaining four oval events on the 2021 schedule. Johnson’s contract states that he will race exclusively on road and street course events.

I was on the way out and all of a sudden I get a call from Jimmie about running the ovals. He kept saying ‘Doesn’t this make sense?’” Kanaan said. “They didn’t have to twist my arm to come back, especially with Jimmie and Chip.”

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Nov 8, 2020; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson pits during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This two-year contract pairs two veterans alongside each other, as Kanaan has 23 years under his belt. What it also means is that Jimmie Johnson heads into the 2021 season with two experienced heads.

How will Jimmie Johnson perform in his debut season?

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Truthfully, there are a lot of hopes riding on him. Johnson himself probably views the two-year stint as a fun exercise. Since he is pretty much a rookie, Jimmie Johnson has nothing to lose. However, he knows that he can learn a lot from his teammates.

Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson prior to the final race of his career at the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from Kanaan, he is also teammates with Scott Dixon, the reigning champion. Additionally, he is also partnered with Alex Palou and former F1 driver Marcus Ericsson. Together, the whole team could be a force to reckon with. The 45-year-old will also have a load of experience from his 20-year NASCAR career.

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In essence, it could be an exchange of information, and both parties can benefit. At the end of the day, Johnson is hardly going to think about having designs on the IndyCar title. While it may be a dream come true, sometimes people have to be realistic.

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Dhruv George

13580 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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