By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Add Jimmie Johnson to the list of entrants for the March 26 NASCAR Cup Series race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
The seven-time Cup champion, who raced in the Daytona 500 to kick off the 2023 season in his new owner/driver venture with Legacy Motor Club, announced Tuesday that he would be adding a trip to the Lone Star State to his part-time driving schedule this year with backing from Club Wyndham.
Johnson missed out on being able to race at the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course by a year after leaving for the open wheel ranks following the 2020 season and with IndyCar only running at the track once back in 2019, never got the chance to take a spin around the home of the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix.
That all changes in a couple of weeks.
“COTA has been on my racing ‘bucket list’ for a very long time,” said Johnson. “But my timing was off by a year or so. I was hoping it was going to be on the INDYCAR schedule – and it wasn’t – and then they added it to the NASCAR schedule after I left.
“I’m excited to finally be able to check this one off the list and thankful to Club Wyndham for making it happen. From everything I’ve heard, NASCAR drivers have had a lot of fun racing at COTA, so to say I’m looking forward to it is an understatement.”
Johnson will be joined by a host of road course ringers in the field, which include two of his LeMans Garage 56 teammates in Jordan Taylor, driving the Hendrick No. 9 car and former F1 world champion Jenson Button piloting the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing entry.
The list also includes another F1 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen, who is making his second appearance in the Trackhouse Racing No. 91 Chevrolet, as well as NTT IndyCar Series regular Conor Daly making another run for The Money Team and their No. 50 car.
After Austin, Johnson’s driving schedule won’t be over yet, with a previously announced appearance in the Chicago Street Race over July 4th weekend, as well as a return to Charlotte and the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend.
Johnson made a detour to the Indianapolis 500 last season but will be back in familiar territory behind the wheel of a stock car on the 1.5-mile oval where he won a total of eight races – four of which were the Coca-Cola 600.
“The Coke 600 is one of those premiere races on the schedule,” said Johnson. “For fans, it’s truly one of the greatest days in motorsports with Monaco (Formula 1), INDYCAR’s Indianapolis 500, and then NASCAR’s longest race that starts in the afternoon and ends at night.
“Last year I lived out another ‘bucket list’ item and was able to race in the Indy 500. I’m looking forward to driving this NextGen car at Charlotte and putting on a great show for Club Wyndham®.”
Per the team, should Johnson decide to run any additional races this season, those events will be announced at a later date.