Jimmie Johnson Keeping Mario Andretti’s IndyCar Exploits at 53 Years Old as a Reference of Optimism

Published 01/19/2022, 4:55 AM EST
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)

In 2022, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will run in his first full-time IndyCar season. And while him being 46-years-old in his first proper IndyCar season might suggest he won’t be able to compete for wins, Johnson is keeping a legendary driver’s career trajectory in mind.

In a recent interview, the former Hendrick driver named Mario Andretti as someone whose example keeps him optimistic about his own chances for an IndyCar win.

“I was told Mario (Andretti) won his final race at 53, so that gives me a lot of hope,” Johnson said.

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Jimmie Johnson has high hopes

Despite going in strong for his second season in IndyCar, there have been rumors that Johnson’s seat is already under threat. That there is another driver in line in case the former NASCAR driver fails to live up to the expectations.
And although Johnson admits there’s a chance that he could be a “one-&-done” as a full-timer, he has an intent for a longer run. “It’s my intent & desire to keep doing it as long as I can,” he said. Yet despite this, Jimmie Johnson admitted, “I’m having so much fun & really enjoying this challenge.” 
“On my oval journey, I really think my performance will be better, look better, run better in Year 2 of those. I could even be an IndyCar winner.”
Earlier, he had described the Indianapolis 500 as a ‘childhood dream’ for him. And for now, he has achieved that dream partly because he will run in the iconic race in 2022.
But if he can achieve the other half of that dream, of winning the Indy500, it will surely ensure his place on the list of the greatest drivers of all time in motorsports.

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Apr 25, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; IndyCar Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) races at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
As for his chances to actually win some races in IndyCar, including the big one, a realist would say, “No, Jimmie Johnson doesn’t really have that big a chance,” and they’d be right, realistically.

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But then again, it is Jimmie Johnson we’re talking about a driver who has defied and bent reality so many times before.

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Shaharyar Khan Chauhan

1019 articles

Shaharyar is an F1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for a better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.

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