The driver of the No. 48 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda announced the news on Wednesday, December 15. He appeared on “TODAY” and discussed his plans for the 2022 season. He confirmed that he will return to Chip Ganassi Racing for the second season and will run a full year with Carvana Racing as his primary sponsor for 16 races. The American Legion will sponsor him for one race.
“Last year, I ran a limited schedule, and I’m very excited to be here today to announce that I will be full-time in 2022 and will run the entire schedule for the championship points,” Johnson said during the December 15 appearance. “And that does include the marquee event, the Indianapolis 500.”
Johnson continued and explained that working the broadcast at the 2021 Indianapolis 500 actually cemented his desire to run in the major race. This “FOMO” led to him taking part in two separate oval test sessions in order to prepare for the major undertaking.
Johnson First Discussed This Potential Schedule During the Summer
The seven-time Cup Series champion only ran a partial schedule during his rookie debut in IndyCar, but he provided hints about an expanded future over the summer. He confirmed that he remained focused on getting ready for the Indy 500 and that he had test sessions planned on oval tracks.
Interestingly enough, Johnson initially shut down discussions about him running a full season in 2022 with CGR. He told Speed Sport in July that running a full schedule was less realistic than simply focusing on the Indy 500, but he also added that he would have to see how things unfold.
“It’s just too early to tell,” Johnson said. “Right now, it’s really just focused on getting ready for the 500. It would depend on how the test would go. Honestly to run a full schedule next year would really be complicated, so I don’t know how realistic that opportunity would be at the end of the day.”
Johnson Ran All but 4 IndyCar Races in 2021
The “rookie” driver made his IndyCar debut during the first week of the season. He climbed into the No. 48 Honda at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama and finished 21st overall out of the 24-car field.
Johnson went on to start 12 of the 16 races, focusing on the road courses. Tony Kanaan replaced him in the No. 48 for the ovals at Texas Motor Speedway and World Wide Technology Raceway. Kanaan also replaced Johnson for the Indy 500.
While the rookie experienced a steep learning curve, he gained a considerable amount of experience. Johnson posted four top-20 finishes, including a pair of 17th-place finishes to cap off the season, and he only registered two DNFs during his debut campaign.
Johnson still has a considerable amount of work to do before he contends for podiums and wins, but he will gain even more experience in 2022 while running a full schedule. He will also have the opportunity to see how his two decades of experience on oval tracks translates to the IndyCar circuit.
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