Jimmie Johnson is midway through his first season as an IndyCar driver, but he’s not running all of the races on the schedule.
Due to safety concerns as a rookie in the new type of car, the seven-time NASCAR champion decided to sit out the oval track races, including the marquee Indy 500, but that may change next year.
“We’re trying to set up a test for me to run a big oval so that I could then go to the Brickyard for the fall tire test that typically happens and go through my Rookie Orientation,” Johnson told NBC Sports.
“And we’re trying to find either Texas or Homestead. I need to run one of those two first before I can go to the ROP [Rookie Orientation Program] at the Brickyard in the fall.”
Johnson won the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway four times during his NASCAR career, but there’s a significant speed difference between the stock cars and open wheel/cockpit IndyCars at the track.
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Qualifying speeds for Cup Series cars were in the 185 mph range, while Scott Dixon won the Indy 500 pole this year at 231.685 mph.
Johnson needs more than practice before he takes on the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, however. He told the Associated Press that his wife Chani needs to give him the OK to to oval racing.
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