Jimmie Johnson Credits Chip Ganassi for Helping Light Team Ownership Fire

New part-owner of Petty GMS Racing says Ganassi was "very kind to show me kind of behind the scenes."

auto, autos, car, cars, nascar, jimmie johnson credits chip ganassi for helping light team ownership fire
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  • Jimmie Johnson is testing the ownership waters with Petty GMS Racing, but he’s not closing the book on driving.
  • Johnson plans to race a limited NASCAR Cup schedule in 2023 that will include the Daytona 500.
  • The seven-time NASCAR Cup champion is leaving the door open for other racing disciplines as well.

    Jimmie Johnson is coming home. After retiring from NASCAR at the end of 2020 and racing in the IndyCar Series, the seven-time NASCAR champion was at Phoenix Raceway Friday morning.

    He won’t be returning as a full-time driver though, but as a team owner.

    Johnson was introduced as a new part owner of Petty GMS joining Maury Gallagher and another seven-time champion Richard Petty. Johnson will not only be part of the team ownership but will also be racing in select events starting with next season’s Daytona 500.

    Johnson raced in NASCAR’s Cup series full time from 2002 until he stepped away in 2020. Along the way, he won 83 races and the seven Cup titles a record that ties him with Dale Earnhardt Sr., and his now co-owner Richard Petty.

    “Honestly, it feels incredible,” Johnson said. “I must say, I did not see this in my future. This is something, an opportunity that’s developed that makes sense for so many ways, so many reasons and an opportunity I’m honored to be a part of and very excited to be a part of.”

    The most recent NASCAR Cup race as a full-time driver for Johnson was at Phoenix Raceway in 2020.

    “When I left here, I really had no idea what was in store for me,” he said. “I knew I wanted to try IndyCar, and I had an amazing experience there.”

    Johnson said his goal has never been team ownership, his focus has been on racing other people’s cars. It was his IndyCar team owner, and former NASCAR team owner Chip Ganassi who really got the conversation started.

    “It was never in the cards,” Johnson said. “I mean literally, even in the summer, like that was not something I aspired to pursue.”

    auto, autos, car, cars, nascar, jimmie johnson credits chip ganassi for helping light team ownership fire

    Jimmie Johnson failed to conquer IndyCar. He finished 21st in the championship points standings in 2022.

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    Johnson said Ganassi put him the mindset and mentioned that he got his start as a driver before moving into team ownership. And Ganassi has continued to advise Johnson as he transitions into a team owner role.

    “He’s really been helpful for me,” Johnson said. “In my process of bringing partners into the sport and being in IndyCar and has been very kind to show me kind of behind the scenes what takes place and how things work.”

    The move begs the question: Johnson spent his entire Cup career driving for Hendrick Motorsports and team owner Rick Hendrick, so why didn’t Johnson consider an ownership role while driving for that team?

    “I know Mr. Hendricks always had that available for me,” Johnson said. “But I was never interested. I was just too busy driving and focused on that. But again, here in the last couple of years I have been more interested in the business side and done a lot of growing there and had help from a lot of areas and certainly from Chip.”

    As for his future behind the wheel, Johnson has committed to racing in the 2023 Daytona 500 and is leaving the door open for other racing disciplines as well.

    “Yeah, still interested in sports car, IndyCar,” he said. “I’ve got an awesome opportunity to race an off-road truck if I want. Alex Bowman has offered me a Chili Bowl ride. The invites keep coming in.”

    Whether those invites will include anything from Chip Ganassi, is a question left unanswered, at least for now. Johnson, the new co-owner of Petty GMS Racing, will be racing the Chevrolet’s the team fields. Whether Chevy will allow Johnson in another manufacturer’s car remains to be seen.

    “I have been solely focused on this and don’t know the impact of this commitment and relationship and how that plays out,” Johnson said. “But once the dust settles from here, I’ll get deeper into those other conversations and try to build out the best race schedule I can have that does fit with the new commitment and obligation that I have here. That’s something that will certainly play into all that.”

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