Jimmie Johnson has announced that his time as a full time IndyCar driver is over, and he will be pursuing other racing endeavors in 2023.
This past season was the first in which Johnson competed in an entire IndyCar season, adding ovals to his regime after testing the waters by contesting the road course events the year before.
The addition was seen as a successful one, as his past experience on ovals allowed him to put his talents on display. A top five finish at Iowa was the highlight of the season, and each of his four best finishes came on oval tracks.
He released a video message on Monday that outlined his current mindset towards his racing future, and gave hints as to what his racing schedule might look like next season.
“I’ve spent the last week plus with my family, and certainly with my thoughts, just trying to understand what my 2023 calendar might look like,” said Johnson.
“Through that process, I’m really at a point where I’m feeling very satisfied with the accomplishments that I had in 2022 running the full time schedule. This experience for me has always been one for my reasons. I decided to do this, it made a lot of people question it, but I wanted to chase my original dream and run in the IndyCar Series.
“I truly felt like, as this year started, that I would want more years. That I would want to continue on. But through this period of time I’ve had to reflect, and feeling as full as I do from my full time season of racing, the accomplishments I was able to have, and certainly the experiences I was able to have, I’m here to say today that I will not compete full time in 2023.
“I’m not saying that I’m out of a race car and not competing at all. I still very much have the desire to compete. But from a full time standpoint, and what’s required, the energy, effort, time away from home, and all the commitments required to be your best for a full time season, I’m just not there right now.
“I feel like 2022 checked so many boxes for me, and I had such an incredible time. I’m going to take a deep breath, and think hard about what 2023 might look like.
“I’m still working on my bucket list of races to compete in. 24 hours of LeMans is still out there for me. I love sportscar racing, I love IndyCar racing, I’ve always been curious if there might be a one-off event in NASCAR that might fit for me and work for me. All that is still in play, and I really do anticipate racing somewhere next year. Thankfully I do have options.
“I’ve had the best time at Chip Ganassi Racing, and I know Chip doesn’t want to see me go anywhere. I’m certainly looking at some options there.
“Had the amazing support from Carvana, and I know as I’m behind the wheel of a car, I feel certain that they want to continue the relationship and be there for that journey.
“And I just really want to thank the fans for all their support. And again, this isn’t a goodbye. This is a ‘I’m going to find some new projects and continue to find new ways to challenge myself.’”
Johnson’s ‘retirement’ from NASCAR was always seen as more of a transition to other racing endeavors, but it seems that the rigors of a full schedule have become a bit too much for the 47-year-old.
Whether he still competes in some IndyCar races next season, or if he fully embraces new challenges is unknown at this time. But as the past couple seasons have shown, his loyal fans will follow him to whichever race track he chooses to go.