Ganassi aims to continue with four cars in 2023

Chip Ganassi Racing aims to continue with four full-time entries in the NTT IndyCar Series.

Looking ahead to 2023, his No. 8 Honda for Marcus Ericsson, the No. 9 entry for Scott Dixon and the No. 10 currently driven by Alex Palou are all locked in place, leaving the No. 48 driven by Jimmie Johnson as the only puzzle. to settle for the defending champions of the series.

With a variety of questions to answer about whether Johnson wants to continue as a full-time driver, move on to an oval-only campaign, return in May as a solo driver for the Indy 500, or retire entirely after the season is over. In less than two weeks, the wishes of the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion are determining the fate of the No. 48 entry.

“We want to continue to run four, so we’re working on that,” CGR managing director Mike Hull told RACER. “Jimmie is still trying to come up with a plan for the future, so we certainly fully support him with what he wants to do. But despite all that, we want to run four cars. There really is an advantage to racing more cars, and the way you separate yourself from your competition is to have more information available for the race.

“I think we will continue with four for that very reason. We did five successfully at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a car for Tony Kanaan, and when you look at the amount of time you have on the track and in practice, the cloud of information you generate is essential to successfully executing your program.”

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Confirming the budget for the No. 48 car through its current or new sponsors is another matter to be resolved, but Hull is confident the relationship with Johnson will continue.

“I really think he wants to continue, and he’s a great asset to the sport,” he said. “And a bigger asset to Chip Ganassi Racing in the way he approaches problem solving. That is unique. It’s the kind of talent you don’t want to let go because it only detracts from the team.”

If, by any chance, CGR downsizes to three full-season cars, rival Dale Coyne Racing with the HMD Motorsports team will contact Honda Performance Development by phone to try to secure the lease of the old No. 48 engine to place a third inning on the field.

Johnson heads into this weekend’s race in Portland with 20the in the drivers’ championship and looking to improve on his career-best road course finish, which came earlier this year at Mid-Ohio, where he placed 16ththe. The 46-year-old’s best IndyCar finish to date came in July, when he ran for fifth place in the closing Hy-Vee IndyCar Weekend doubleheader at the 0.875-mile oval at Iowa Speedway.

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