Story By: PAUL KELLY / INDYCAR – SPEEDWAY, IN – Will he or won’t he? That was the question surrounding Jimmie Johnson after his rookie NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in 2021 as he pondered whether to add racing in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge to his legendary driving career in 2022.
The answer is in: He will!
Reigning and 14-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champions Chip Ganassi Racing, Johnson and leading online auto retailer Carvana (NYSE: CVNA) announced Dec. 15 that Johnson will contest the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in the No. 48 Carvana Honda as part of a full NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in 2022. Johnson also unveiled the new livery of the No. 48 Carvana Honda this morning on the “TODAY” show and confirmed Carvana will return as the primary sponsor for his sophomore season.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Johnson competed in the 12 road-and-street circuits in 2021, scoring a career-best finish of 17th at the season-ending Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. In August, Johnson tested on the oval at Texas Motor Speedway and completed the INDYCAR Rookie Orientation Program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Oct. 6.
“I’m really excited about this next chapter of my career and competing in the No. 48 with Carvana for the 2022 season,” Johnson said. “The safety of these cars has come so far, and after I tested the ovals at Texas and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I realized this was a challenge I wanted to undertake. I’m thankful for Chip, Carvana and all who made this possible.
“Last season was so incredible for me and I made a lot of progress, so I know I can be competitive on tracks that I have experience on. I can’t wait to be part of the Indianapolis 500, it’s a childhood dream come true.”
Johnson has plenty of winning pedigree on the IMS oval, as he won the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Cup Series four times (2006, 2008, 2009, 2012).
“Chip Ganassi Racing and Jimmie Johnson are ideal partners, and we’re excited to watch Jimmie race the full season in 2022,” Carvana Chief Brand Officer Ryan Keeton said. “Our entire Carvana crew is inspired by Jimmie’s commitment as he’s forged this new path in his racing career. Carvana has always stood for challenging the status quo, and we see that same drive and passion in Jimmie.”
Carvana has strengthened its commitment with Chip Ganassi Racing this season and will be the primary partner and livery for all but one of the scheduled races, with The American Legion colors on the No. 48 in July at Iowa Speedway.
“We are very happy about Jimmie running the whole 2022 season and that Carvana will be on nearly all of those races,” team owner Chip Ganassi said. “I am looking forward to seeing Jimmie get back on the track after having a year under his belt. With all the experience he has on ovals from his NASCAR career and adding it to his 2021 experience in an Indy car, we think the INDYCAR ovals will play right into his strength. I can’t wait for the 2022 season to begin.”