In ‘Driven to Give Back’ program, Jimmie Johnson’s cars will feature charity liveries

Jimmie Johnson charity liveries
Jimmie Johnson Racing
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Carvana announced collaborations Monday with three charity organizations that will co-design the liveries that Jimmie Johnson will drive in selected NTT IndyCar Series this season.

“Driven to Give Back” will feature paint schemes on the No. 48 Dallara-Honda that focus on three charity partners:

–The TechForce Foundation will be featured in the April 10 race on the streets of Long Beach, California. The foundation helps steer students in the transportation technician industry with scholarships, mentorship and workforce opportunities.

–The American Legion, which also has been a sponsor on Johnson’s cars since last year, will be showcased in the July 3 race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

–The livery for the Sept. 4 race at Portland International Raceway will feature Athena Racing, which trains young girls in middle and high school with essential skills and STEM career development in engineering, design, fabrication and business related to automotive, motorsports and transportation.

Carvana is making charitable donations on behalf of fans who sign up at Carvana.com/driven for sneak previews of the paint schemes.

Carvana also used a collaborative effort to help design Johnson’s paint schemes last season, allowing fans to vote on the No. 48’s look in five races.

“Chip Ganassi Racing and Jimmie Johnson are ideal partners and we’re excited to continue cheering Jimmie on as he races the full IndyCar season this year,” Carvana chief brand officer Ryan Keeton said in a release. “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 also has launched a behind-the-scenes documentary-style series of Johnson’s first full season in IndyCar. The second episode of “Reinventing the Wheel” premiered Monday. “Setbacks and Steps Forward” chronicled Johnson’s 23rd-place finish at St. Petersburg.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”