It took three tries, but Jimmie Johnson has finally gotten behind the wheel of an IndyCar.
The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion had two IndyCar test sessions canceled this year due to issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including his own positive COVID-19 test, but took his first laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday in a car provided by Chip Ganassi Racing.
Johnson, who is retiring from full-time NASCAR racing at the end of this season, is aiming to compete in a few IndyCar races next year. Five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon was on hand to give Johnson some pointers as he took on the speedway’s road course.
Johnson has said he’s mainly interested in racing on street and road courses, rather than the more dangerous ovals. However he has left the door open to an attempt at the Indy 500 if the new safety technology being incorporated into the cars this season proves effective.
“I’ve always wanted to race the (Indy) 500. I’d have to do a lot of selling to my wife to get that hall pass to do it,” Johnson told NBC Sports.
Johnson’s performance during Tuesday’s test has not been revealed, but he said the session “exceeded his expectations.”
Along with stock cars, Johnson has raced motorcycles, off-road trucks and sports cars in the past, but has never competed in open-wheel racing.