Johnson, Kanaan to split time in No. 48 IndyCar entry in 2021

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Chip Ganassi Racing has announced that Jimmie Johnson will not be a full-time driver during the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series. Johnson will split time with former Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan.

Johnson will drive the street courses in his first season in the NTT IndyCar Series. Kanaan will pilot the No. 48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing entry, which will also be sponsored by NTT Data and Bryant, during the oval races.

Former A.J. Foyt Racing driver Tony Kanaan competing in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline
Tony Kanaan competing in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline (Photo by Joe Skibinski/IndyCar)

The 2004 IndyCar champion will compete in both races at Texas Motor Speedway on May 1st and 2nd. Kanaan will also compete in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 30th.

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In addition, Kanaan will compete in the race at the World Wide Technology Raceway on August 21st.

The NASCAR legend is expected to compete in races 1-3, 6, 8-14, and 16-17. Kanaan is expected to compete in races 4-5, 7, and 15.

Chip Ganassi Racing is the latest team to have a special arrangement with drivers. Ed Carpenter Racing also does this, as owner/driver Ed Carpenter will compete in races 4-5, 7, and 15.

Related: John Hunter Nemechek leaves Front Row Motorsports after one season

An unannounced driver will compete in 1-3, 6, 8-14, and 16-17 for the team.

Meyer Shank Racing also has a special arrangement with Hélio Castroneves – who has not competed full-time in the sport since the 2017 season – to compete in 2-3, 7, 14, and 16-17. Since stepping out of the full-time ride, he has competed in seven races in three seasons.

Kanaan said that he was going to retire at the end of the 2020 season in his “Last Ride” campaign. However, since he competed without fans in attendance, Kanaan elected to come back for another go around.

Related: Jeb Burton hired by Kaulig Racing for 2021 ride

He returns to Chip Ganassi Racing, where Kanaan was employed from 2014 through 2017. Kanaan joins a roster at CGR that includes Johnson, six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, and new addition Alex Palou.

Johnson is making the switch from stock cars to an IndyCar after competing in the NASCAR Cup Series from 2001 through 2020. In 686 races, he won 83 races at the highest level.

He finished fifth in his final NASCAR Cup Series event.

Kanaan has 16 career wins in 290 starts. From 2003 through 2019, Kanaan was a full-time driver with multiple teams.

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