Jimmie Johnson finally makes IndyCar testing debut with Ganassi

Chris Owens/IndyCar
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Jimmie Johnson made his long-awaited IndyCar test debut Tuesday on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Chip Ganassi Racing.

The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, who has been angling for an IndyCar ride since attending the NTT Series’ preseason test at Austin, Texas, posted social media photos Tuesday from the Brickyard with the No. 10 Dallara-Honda normally driven by Felix Rosenqvist

Johnson initially was slated to test a Dallara-Chevrolet with Arrow McLaren SP Motorsports three months ago at Barber Motorsports Park, but the April 6 session was scrubbed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after he had been fitted for a seat at the team’s Indianapolis shop.

He had been scheduled to drive July 8 with Ganassi at IMS before he tested positive for COVID-19. He since was cleared for a return to NASCAR by two negative tests after missing one Cup race.

Johnson also has been updating the IG Story on his Instagram account (@jimmiejohnson) with video from the test.

Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull, who has overseen Johnson’s test, posted a photo of Johnson consulting with five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon in a Ganassi hauler. Hull also tweeted that Johnson said after his first laps around the road course that it had been his dream to be an IndyCar driver, and the test lit his fire.

Dixon, who won the first three races of the 2020 season and leads the points standings for Ganassi this season, attended the test as a sounding board for Johnson.

Johnson, who is retiring from full-time racing in NASCAR after the 2020 season, has said he would be open to racing on road and street courses in IndyCar next season with a preference for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. He also opened the door to possibly racing the Indianapolis 500 after evaluating the recent performance of the aeroscreen in IndyCar.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said recently that Arrow McLaren SP also remains interested in Johnson despite the test with Ganassi.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.