Home AutoSports Jimmie Johnson returns to Texas as searching for some old NASCAR magic

Jimmie Johnson returns to Texas as searching for some old NASCAR magic


A document seven wins, essentially the most laps led in Texas Motor Speedway historical past and a resume so stout they renamed victory lane after him.

However as Jimmie Johnson prepares for his IndyCar debut on the monitor he dominated for a decade he has low expectations of incomes a visit to “The Jimmie Johnson Winners Circle.”

“I don’t think that’s realistic. Some people may have that expectation and that’s fine. I would love that to be the case,” Johnson stated. “Whenever you enter a new series, you’re with the regulars, they’re so good at what they do. We have seen it when drivers try to cross over from various series.

“I definitely have increased expectations for myself, however I am not pondering I will present up, qualify on pole, lead essentially the most laps and win the race.”

Johnson will make his oval debut as an IndyCar driver Sunday at Texas as he tackles the full schedule this season. He opted out of ovals as an IndyCar rookie last year even though he’d dominated the circuits for nearly two decades in NASCAR, winning seven Cup Series championships in an 11-year span.

All but one of Johnson’s 83 career Cup victories are on ovals.

But it was a family decision regarding safety for Johnson not to race ovals when he moved to the open cockpit Indy car, which cannot handle the contact so familiar to the stock cars in NASCAR. He stuck to street and road courses, a personal decision that made sense to Johnson but seemed a peculiar choice considering ovals are his bread and butter.

He changed his mind as he attended the Indianapolis 500 as an NBC analyst, deciding that as his comfort in the car improved, IndyCar’s cockpit-protecting aeroscreen also alleviated his safety concerns.

So 14 years after his first win at Texas, Johnson will now return to the 1.5-mile oval that was once his personal playground. He tested at the track last year with his Chip Ganassi Racing team to gauge his interest in running ovals, but a scheduled IndyCar test last week was scrubbed because of poor weather conditions.

It’s a different track now after Speedway Motorsports overhauled the circuit in 2017, the year Johnson won his last race at Texas. His six previous wins were on the former layout and Johnson said “I nonetheless have loads to study coming to a monitor I do know and love.”

The new configuration at Texas has a narrow entry and exit in the turns and the once wide-open track has been reduced to one lane because of the effects of a traction compound NASCAR uses that eliminated the outside lane. And, an Indy car should be roughly 30 mph faster than a stock car — a change that Johnson said required an initial vision adjustment his first time on track.

“I am grateful for each lap that I’ve had thus far, however I nonetheless have loads to study in single-car working. I nonetheless have not been in site visitors, and these automobiles are way more delicate in site visitors than what I anticipated from watching,” Johnson said. “I’ve watched each video humanly doable. I will have to make use of the 2 hours of follow [Saturday] to maximise that, get a way of it, so I can have the perfect race craft doable heading into the occasion.”

He still has high goals for Saturday and Sunday: Johnson wants to improve his qualifying position and earn the first top-10 finish of his IndyCar career.

“In the end I wish to run each lap of the race,” he said. “I am so new into my IndyCar expertise, beginning throughout on ovals, each lap goes to be a marked quantity of expertise gained. We’re attempting to construct up for the Indy 500. Everybody is aware of how particular the Indy 500 is. It is the second oval on the schedule. Each lap I make can be very helpful.”

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