“One of the Hardest Ones Yet” – NASCAR Legend Jimmie Johnson Expects Intense Rolex 24 Race

Published 01/23/2021, 10:30 AM EST
BRISTOL, TN – APRIL 06: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)


Seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is now making his way back into other forms of racing after his retirement from NASCAR. The iconic endurance race, the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, is an event he returns to 10 years after his last appearance, and Johnson expects a tough challenge.

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On Friday, Johnson drove for the first time in the No. 48 Cadillac for Action Express Racing during the first practice session at the 2021 Rolex 24. Johnson seemed to enjoy his time at Daytona and he will be raring to go in the qualifying and race weekends.

Johnson’s last Rolex 24 race was in 2011. Since then, he won the NASCAR Cup Series two more times and is a lot more experienced now than he was back then.

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However, Johnson still believes that the 2021 edition will be extremely tough and will challenge every driver, despite all of them being stars of their various disciplines.

Jimmie Johnson explains the challenges of the 2021 Rolex 24

Well, I’m expecting the race to be long and grueling as it always is. And so many challenges thrown at teams, drivers, everybody in the race,” Johnson said during an interview.

He threw more light on the challenges drivers face in races like the Rolex 24. “When you have three or four different divisions on track, it’s quite complicated just to navigate the track and stay out of trouble,” Johnson added.

The 45-year-old superstar highlighted the different start time for the race this year, and how it changes the equation. The 2021 Rolex 24 race is set to begin late in the afternoon. Since it is a 24-hour race, it officially ends late in the afternoon the next day.

So, with the finish then being much later the next day, just the demand on everybody that’s going to be working the event is going to increase greatly and make it one of the hardest ones yet,” Johnson expressed.

Johnson reunites with Chase Elliott and sponsor Ally

When someone like Johnson says something, most other drivers would certainly stand up and take notice. It would also give them an idea of what they can expect this year at the Rolex 24.

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One of those drivers will be Chase Elliott, who will be Johnson’s teammate, in a way. They will not drive the same car, but Elliott will pilot the no. 31 Cadillac fielded by Action Express Racing.

LONG POND, PA – JUNE 01: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet, talk in the garage during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Johnson carries his favorite No. 48 over from NASCAR, not just to the Rolex 24, but also in his debut IndyCar Series. Long-time sponsor Ally also continued their alliance with the motorsports legend.

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DIVE DEEPER

NASCAR Champ Chase Elliott Plans to ‘Lean On’ Jimmie Johnson Once Again in Rolex 24 at Daytona Debut

5 months ago

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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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