“Nothing Got me Ready for the Experience Here” – Jimmie Johnson gets NASCAR-IndyCar Veteran as Driving Coach After his Difficult Campaign

Published 06/13/2021, 1:35 PM EDT
May 15, 2021; Speedway, Indiana, USA; Indy Series driver Jimmy Johnson (48) during the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports


At the first race of the Detroit Belle Isle double-header, Jimmie Johnson endured a tough practice. The 7-time NASCAR Cup Series champion was one of several drivers to spin off during the session. Johnson went off at Turn 3 after 15 minutes had passed, but managed to escape any damage to his #48 car.

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So far this season, the 45-year-old has been caught up in incident at every race weekend so far. This weekend, Johnson has roped in racing veteran Scott Pruett as a driving coach. A two-time winner in the CART Series, Pruett has also made 51 Cup and Xfinity starts in NASCAR.

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“This is a new adventure for sure,” Pruett said. “As many years as I spent with Ganassi, all the stuff I’ve done over the years with teammates and bringing them along and helping as much as I could, it seemed like a good opportunity.”

What can Jimmie Johnson do now?

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The former Hendrick Motorsports driver has done a lot of sim work to prepare for the race. However, he confessed, “Nothing got me ready for the experience here. I was just floored how technical this track is, how rough it is, how little grip there is. I have a huge challenge ahead of myself this weekend. The spin, I’m just trying to find the limits of the car and my ability. I just got into Turn 3 a little too fast and had a little too much rear brake in the car and did a little lazy spin, so it was one of those things that rookies do, and I’ll keep learning from those mistakes and getting better.”

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

Aside from Johnson, the likes of Romain Grosjean, Rinus VeeKay and James Hinchcliffe had minor incidents. Of course they can be forgiven as IndyCar has returned to Detroit after a two-year absence. This was because, last year’s races were canceled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Dhruv George

11766 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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