Jimmie Johnson: Why I Am Thankful for ‘Hitting the Wall at 180’ in IndyCar

Published 10/09/2021, 2:18 PM EDT
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)


The 2021 IndyCar season has officially concluded, with Jimmie Johnson finishing in 26th place. Now, he is currently undertaking a pre-season test for the 2022 season. At the moment, the driver is debating his future in the sporting arena and is working on qualifying for the 2022 Indianapolis 500.

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The best part is that he is inching closer to his dream, as he passed most of the tests before rain interrupted. Despite the hiccup, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver managed to perform up to the mark. To make matters even better, he will get a second bite of the cherry during the late-April test days.

How did Jimmie Johnson tackle his rookie season in IndyCar?

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Admittedly, Johnson opted to take his maiden IndyCar season with caution. To be precise, he only tackled road courses and avoided ovals. Speaking about adapting to life as an IndyCar driver, he said, “I really had to go through what I have to get comfortable with IndyCar, hit a couple walls. Hitting the wall at 180 (mph while qualifying in) Nashville, as much as I hated doing it, it was a good data point for me.”

Apr 18, 2021; Birmingham, Alabama, USA; Indy driver Jimmie Johnson (48) at Barber Motorsports Park. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Now, the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is gearing up for his second season in the sport. Once again, he is expected to compete in road course events, though he is willing to be flexible and include some ovals. All in all, this was a massive learning experience for the former Hendrick Motorsports driver.

Hopefully, for his sake, he will be better prepared for the coming season. The Chip Ganassi Racing team is a decent team and a front-running one. So, with a year’s experience under his belt, he should be able to get up to speed. Without a doubt, he will want to be able to keep up with the other drivers. Additionally, Jimmie Johnson will be hoping to live out his dream of competing in the iconic Indy 500.

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Dhruv George

12156 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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