NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson is hoping to do a modified version of ‘The Double’ by partaking of his first NTT IndyCar Series race during the July 4 weekend where NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 will take to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval while IndyCar and NASCAR’s Xfinity Series make use of the IMS road course.
With ties to Chevrolet through Hendrick Motorsports where he’s won seven Cup titles, and to the Chevy-powered Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar team where he was due to test a car for the first time in April prior to the coronavirus shutdown, Johnson is keen to do the Saturday Indy Grand Prix followed by Sunday’s 400-mile NASCAR event.
“I think that would be an awesome opportunity,” the retiring Californian told NBC Sports.
IndyCar veteran Graham Rahal alerted Johnson to the newly combined IndyCar and NASCAR date via social media.
“Clearly [there’s] a lot of things to sort out, and I haven’t even asked permission yet to pull it off,” Johnson said of broaching the idea with Hendrick. “But I love the idea and am so thankful Graham brought it up because I would have probably missed it and reacted too late.”
It’s believed the AMSP IndyCar outfit would be more than accommodating if Johnson is able to jump start his open-wheel career sooner than anticipated.
“What’s funny is [Rahal] was texting me [Thursday], [but] I wasn’t sure what he was talking about; then I looked on Twitter and understood what he threw out there,” Johnson continued. “I am so thankful he brought that up. I have not looked at the schedule. I know that IndyCar posted [a new schedule], but with NASCAR’s schedule up in the air, my head wasn’t even around that. So if that is the case, and those weekends do line up, I’ll take a very hard look at it.”
Johnson is preparing to say farewell to his NASCAR career once the Cup season resumes. With a green light from his wife to sample IndyCar — outside of the ovals — and a long-held desire to follow in the footsteps of fellow Californian and off-road racing convert Rick Mears, the 44-year-old expects to get an answer on whether making his first IndyCar start is possible before he says goodbye to stock cars.
“I’d find out pretty quickly,” he said. “I’m not sure I’d ever get the answer I wanted, but I’d find out quickly.”