IndyCar Legend Mario Andretti Has High Hopes for Jimmie Johnson in the Open-Wheel Series

Published 09/14/2020, 12:30 PM EDT
Richmond, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) races during the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls | Reuters


It won’t be long before Jimmie Johnson closes the chapter on his long and illustrious NASCAR career, following which he’s looking to move onto the next best thing, IndyCar.

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Of course, this does not mean that NASCAR has seen the last of the 7-time Champion. Now, Johnson is seeking a new challenge, and he believes that IndyCar is the answer.

The 44-year-old is set to join forces with the Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) team in his maiden IndyCar venture. As per his contract, he will participate in 12 races in the 2021 schedule.

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However, he will primarily focus on road and street courses, instead of oval tracks. For the moment, he and the team are still finalizing the finer details of the sponsorship.

Jimmie Johnson has a fellow legend supporting him

Speaking of Johnson, IndyCar legend Mario Andretti has placed plenty of faith in him. Andretti believes that the Hendrick Motorsports driver can seamlessly transition into IndyCar leaving his No. 48 drive behind.

In an interview with NBC Sports, Andretti said: “I think it’s wonderful that he’s doing that, and it’s great news for the sport. And he will slide in there just like a natural — I assure you — because he’ll be with a top team, so immediately, he’ll have the confidence.”

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Once everything falls into place, Jimmie Johnson will partner 5-time IndyCar Champion, Scott Dixon. The duo is familiar with each other since Dixon worked with Johnson during a test for the Chip Ganassi team.

Coming back to Mario Andretti, the ex-F1 and IndyCar driver observed that a top team like CGR will ease the transition. He also suspected that Johnson’s fondness for open-wheeled racing came after he and F1 champion Fernando Alonso swapped rides.

For the moment, Jimmie Johnson has to focus on closing out his 2020 NASCAR season with Hendrick Motorsports. Sadly, he failed to make it into the 2020 Playoffs. So, the 44-year-old is set to hang his helmet up in a three-way record tie with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most titles.

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DIVE DEEPER

IndyCar Driver Scott Dixon Opens Up on a Possible Partnership with NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson

8 months ago

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Dhruv George

11442 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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