Chip Ganassi Racing and Jimmie Johnson announced at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Saturday that online car dealer Carvana will sponsor the seven time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion in 2021 as he transitions to the NTT IndyCar Series for road and street course events starting with the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 7 2021.
Chief Brand Officer with Carvana, Ryan Keeton commented on the announcement saying:
Jimmie Johnson has already made his mark as one of the best NASCAR drivers in history, yet he’s continuing to push himself with a new challenge. “He’s not resting, but raising the bar, and that’s a mindset we can very much relate to. We’re looking forward to that shared challenger mindset, teamed up with Chip Ganassi Racing, for what is sure to be a fun, exciting racing season.
Speaking about the announcement, Jimmie Johnson commented saying:
Carvana is a young, tech-forward, smart and aggressive company and is the perfect partner for this next challenge in my career“I’ve dreamed of racing in INDYCAR since I was a little kid.Going from one championship organization to another with CGR, you know the resources, including great people, are going to be there.To have friends like Scott (Dixon), Dario (Franchitti) and Doug (Duchardt) there to lean on and learn from just makes this transition so much better.2021 is going to be a lot of fun!
Johnson will travel to Barber Motorsports Park next week following the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg to take part in the end of season full-field test session while he will also test at Sebring International Raceway in the No.48 Carvana Honda.
Team owner Chip Ganassi commented on the news saying:
I think this is a perfect fit for our organization – Carvana is a very exciting technology company that is always continuing to challenge themselves to be the best they can be,” said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. “Like us, they value innovation – and when you add it all up, we seem to have a lot in common, which is why I think this relationship can really grow and be successful. You all know Jimmie and his accomplishments. Jimmie is a champion and a winner and will bring tremendous value to our organization. I think we’re going to learn as much from him and his approach as he is going to learn about INDYCAR racing. It will only move the team in a positive direction.
Speaking to Paddock Eye during a Zoom media call when we asked him about the benefits of having Johnson in St Pete today, Chip Ganassi said that Johnson has been immersed in the team for probably the last two plus months and they were just waiting for the right opportunity the future plans. Ganassi said that Johnson is fortunate to be in St Pete to get the lay of the land so when the team show back up in the Spring it is not somewhere new.
Johnson said that does this now allows him to take away layers of stress of showing up for the first time and he said that has watched the No.10 car go through tech and said it was very useful. Johnson also said that he is starting from ground zero and that he hopes to jump in a pace car later today with Dario Franchitti so he can learn the track so he has a basis for next season having been on the sim already.
Chip Ganassi also confirmed that the intention is to run the fourth car full time in 2021.