“Crawl Before I Walk, Walk Before I Run” – Jimmie Johnson Declares His Motto for IndyCar Series Debut

Published 04/13/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
DAYTONA, FL – FEBRUARY 15: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Ally Chevrolet Camaro, during final practice for the Daytona 500 on February 15, 2020 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


A race weekend with Jimmie Johnson behind the wheel is finally on the horizon. This Sunday, Johnson takes to the track at Barber Motorsports Park in his maiden race in the IndyCar Series for Chip Ganassi Racing.

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After a couple of decades, Johnson will compete for ‘Rookie of the Year’ honors. This time it is in an Indy car and Johnson will also have to face many more competitors who are, for a change, much more experienced than him.

However, the 7-time NASCAR Cup champ does not want to let that pressure get to him. For Johnson, his competition is only with himself.

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“I really do feel like, out of the gate, I’m competing with myself,” Johnson said ahead of his IndyCar 2021 debut. “I want to keep it that simple, so I don’t get caught up in my own competitive nature and don’t enjoy the process or the experience,” he added.

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 08: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, sits in his car prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway on November 08, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Jimmie Johnson highlights the challenges of being a rookie in 2021

The challenge in front of Johnson is actually bigger than what rookies normally face. He moves into a completely different type of racing, in a year where testing, practice, and qualifying sessions are affected due to the global pandemic.

In the lead up to the season, Johnson also could not get as much track time as he would’ve ideally wanted to.

“Being a rookie in 2021 is tough, it doesn’t matter which series. Seat time is limited, testing is limited, track time is limited. Learning new venues, learning a new car. It’s just a lot to take in,” the former Hendrick Motorsports driver said further.

In the limited testing time he did get, Johnson made decent gains. Initially, he was three seconds off the lead laps, and when he ran the final test, Johnson bridged that gap to o.5 seconds.

While he feels confident, Johnson does not want to get ahead of himself. He wants to ‘crawl before walking’ and ‘walk before running’.

Johnson’s mantra leading into his maiden IndyCar season

When I started testing the car I was about three seconds off the pace. I’m going in the right direction, but that last half a second is going to be the toughest and that’s what takes decades of experience to hone in on,” the 45-year-old expressed.

“I just need to keep a perspective, crawl before I walk, and walk before I run,” he said.

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AUSTIN, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 11: NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson attends NTT IndyCar Series testing at Circuit of The Americas on February 11, 2020 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Johnson begins a new racing season outside of NASCAR for the first time in a very long time. However, the legendary racer has earned many fans over the years that wish to follow him wherever he races.

There will be great interest in Johnson’s IndyCar debut from NASCAR circles as well.

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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