INDIANAPOLIS — Jimmie Johnson is taking his shot at the Indianapolis 500.
The seven-time NASCAR champion announced his decision Wednesday on the TODAY show to attempt to qualify for the Indy 500 as part of a full-season IndyCar schedule next year. He raced on only road and street courses during the 2021 season, his first in IndyCar, due to safety concerns.
(NOTE: The video in the player above is from Oct. 2021, when Johnson took the IMS rookie test.)
But after growing more comfortable behind the wheel for Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2021 season, Johnson tested on the ovals at Indianapolis and Texas.
He said racing in the Indy 500 will be a dream come true.
"Last season was so incredible for me and I made a lot of progress, so I know I can be competitive on tracks that I have experience on. I can't wait to be part of the Indianapolis 500, it's a childhood dream come true," Johnson said.
While next May will be Johnson's first time driving in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, he's quite familiar with the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, having won NASCAR's Brickyard 400 four times. He passed the Speedway's Rookie Orientation Program, the first step in getting on track for the Indy 500, in October.
"I am looking forward to seeing Jimmie get back on the track after having a year under his belt," seeing team owner Chip Ganassi. "With all the experience he has on ovals from his NASCAR career and adding it to his 2021 experience in an Indy car, we think the INDYCAR ovals will play right into his strength. I can't wait for the 2022 season to begin."
Johnson will continue to drive the No. 48 Honda, sponsored primarily by Carvana, and unveiled his new car during his appearance on TODAY.
The 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 29, 2022.