Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will make his return to a Race Of Champions World Final in Pite Havsbard, Sweden, February 5-6, 2022.
. Tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Johnson’s seven NASCAR Cup Series titles have made him one of he most celebrated drivers in American motorsports. After his last fulltime season in NASCAR in 2020, Johnson currently drives the No. 48 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing in the NTT IndyCar Series.
In his 20 plus years of NASCAR Cup Series competition, Johnson started 686 races and took 83 wins and 374 top-10 finishes. In 2002, Johnson and Jeff Gordon became the first NASCAR drivers to take on an elite, international roster of champions racers at the annual ROC. The event was held in Gran Canaria, Spain, and the two stock car racers shocked the field and audiences by taking the ROC Nations Cup away from Team Spain that had won the title in 2001. The win paved the way for more American influence at the annual Race Of Champions, although the ROC Nations Cup has remained elusive to Team USA since that 2002 victory.
“Gran Canaria was dirt, and I don’t think the other guys knew how much dirt racing Jeff and I had in our backgrounds,” Johnson said. “I don’t think many expected me to run well or even knew who I was for that matter. To win the ROC Nation’s Cup, was something really unique. The only event where I represented my country. I’ve been able to accomplish a lot in my career, but that’s the only experience I’ve had like that. I’m really looking forward to returning to ROC and competing with Travis (Pastrana). He’s a tremendous talent and we have such fun competing together. Hopefully we can go have some fun and success on the snow and ice.”
The ROC “Snow + Ice” World Final in Pite Havsbad, Sweden promises to be another opportunity for drivers accustomed to loose cars and unpredictable surfaces. As the fastest, widest course in ROC’s 30-year history, the upcoming event will be held on the frozen Baltic Sea just 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle.
“Drivers come to ROC because it offers a special experience and innovative challenges that they would not find in their normal racing seasons,” said ROC President, Fredrik Johnsson. “ROC has had a good run in big stadiums all over the world, but it will be really good to get back to natural terrain.”
As always, ROC will see racers from numerous disciplines of motorsport face-off in intense head-to-head heats until the last individual driver is crowned the “Champion of Champions” and the last of the two-driver teams lays claim to the ROC Nations Cup and title as the “World’s fastest Nation”.
ROC’s “Champion of Champions” individual racing was launched in 1988 and the ROC Nations Cup was introduced in 1999, quickly becoming a favorite of fans and drivers. The Nations Cup event has seen incredible rivalries, dynasties and upsets over the years. Formula 1 stars Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel dominated this event from 2007 to 2012 and remain the most successful team in the ROC Nations Cup history.
“The short days, the brutal cold and the changing conditions will make Sweden really well suited for all-round talents like Jimmie,” Fredrik Johnsson continued. “He does not have much experience with four-wheel drive, but he is very skilled off-road and at high speeds, so I’m sure he’ll adjust very quickly just like he did in 2002.”