Jimmie Johnson is well aware of the stir being created by the news that former Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will drive in this year’s Indianapolis 500.
That doesn’t mean you can expect Johnson, the record-tying seven-time champion in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, to follow suit anytime soon. Or ever, for that matter.
Johnson was asked on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway if running the Indy 500 was something that “could be on the back burner” for him someday.
“For me, no, my window has closed,” he answered emphatically.
That doesn’t mean it always was closed for him.
“I was looking into it seriously years ago,” Johnson said. “Then Chani (Johnson’s wife) just kind of worked out a a deal.
The deal was that Johnson could pursue it as long as the married couple did not have kids.
So the Indy 500 window officially closed for Johnson in 2010 when his oldest daughter, Genevieve, was born. Johnson’s second daughter, Lydia, was born in 2013.
“Pre-kids, I couldn’t get it done,” Johnson said. “Until IndyCar decides to put some kind of roof on their cars or protect the driver’s head, it’s just, from our family discussions, it’s out of the question.”
So this year, as in every past year and every year in the foreseeable future, Johnson will simply watch the Indy 500 like any other motorsports fan. He did say that he thinks the addition of Alonso to the field makes it much more interesting.
“I’m excited to see what happens just as a fan of all forms of motorsports,” Johnson said. “I have always been a fan of Alonso. He’s been very entertaining on and off the track. I love his tenacity. I’m shocked to see that he is going to able to pull it off and eager to see how he does. I think we all wonder how different drivers would fare in different series and I think it will be very cool to watch.”