Johnson, Malukas Announced as Full-Time Entries for 2022 Season

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Johnson posing with his Carvana-sponsored machine for 2022. (Photo Credit: Chip Ganassi Racing)

Both Chip Ganassi Racing and Dale Coyne Racing have announced new full-time drivers for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season, unveiling Jimmie Johnson and Indy Lights runner-up David Malukas respectively.

Johnson ran a road and street course schedule for his rookie season, with Tony Kanaan tasked with the ovals. The 46-year-old California native showed growth throughout the season, with a best finish of seventeenth in the last two races of the season. Now, entering his sophomore year of IndyCar competition, the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion graduates to a full schedule, including the illustrious Indianapolis 500.

“I can’t wait to be part of the Indianapolis 500, it’s a childhood dream come true,” he said.

Johnson completed his rookie orientation program at Indianapolis earlier in the offseason, and tested at Texas Motor Speedway in August. Johnson has victories at each track in NASCAR, and looks to translate that oval success to IndyCar.

“The safety of these cars has come so far, and after I tested the ovals at Texas and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I realized this was a challenge I wanted to undertake,” he continued.

“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.”

Malukas at the IMS Road Course test on 1 November 2021. (Photo Credit: Joe Skibinski / Penske Entertainment)

Replacing him in the rookie class is David Malukas, who joins Dale Coyne Racing in the No. 18 Honda. DCR announced in early December that the team ended their famed partnership with Vasser-Sullivan, and in their place have formed a partnership with HMD Motorsports, a company run by Malukas’ father, Henry.

In 2021, Malukas finished second in the Indy Lights championship with an incredibly consistent campaign highlighted with seven wins, seven poles and 16 podiums in 20 races, the most by any driver in the series that season. Malukas tested with the team in October at Barber Motorsports Park, and chemistry is already there between driver and team.

“After my first test with DCR, I felt right at home,” Malukas said. “They are like family already and I am excited to see what we can accomplish.”

Malukas was the fastest driver at the test, and impressed team owner Dale Coyne.

“It was his first time in an Indy car and he was the fastest one at the test, even ahead of a veteran driver,” he said. “And, on top of it all, he comes from right down the road in Chicago, so it’s a perfect fit for us to run David next season,”

The 20-year-old joins a bright rookie class featuring promising drivers both domestic and abroad, like fellow Indy Lights graduates Devlin DeFrancesco, reigning Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood and familiar Formula 2 faces Callum Ilott and Christian Lundgaard.

The 2022 NTT IndyCar Series takes the green flag on 27 February, 2022 on the streets of St. Petersburg.

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Lifelong sports junkie, currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Lead writer for Indycar at The Checkered Flag.
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