• Grayson

Jimmie Johnson Finishes 6th

Updated: Apr 29

Seven-time NASCAR champ gave fans a vintage performance at the Texas Motor Speedway when he climbed through the field to race in the top-five, ultimately finishing sixth.

Jimmie Johnson knows Texas Motor Speedway. In a NASCAR stock car, he had amassed seven wins, five runner ups, sixteen top-fives, twenty-two top-tens, and 1,152 laps led at Texas Motor Speedway. He boasted an average finish of 11.6 and has been racing at the venue since 2002.

On March 20th, Johnson found a new way to have another ‘first’ at the track; he tackled the familiar stomping grounds in an IndyCar.

While Johnson’s tenure in IndyCar, an endeavor that had been exclusively on road and street courses, would best be considered a struggle, there was a cause for optimism heading into Texas. The 46-year-old stock car veteran had spent his illustrious career nearly exclusively on ovals, winning 83 points-paying races.

Still, Johnson had accomplished all of his oval accolades in a stock car, a far cry from the much lighter, agile, and faster IndyCar. Expectations had to be limited. It would be unfair to expect Johnson to climb into the car and be competitive in his first attempt at an IndyCar oval.

And yet that is what he did.

Johnson’s weekend performance was a slow burn, never putting down any awe-inspiring laps in practice, and qualifying a meek 18th out of the 28 car field. During the first portion of the race, he stayed around that spot, at one point even being in danger of going a lap down to then-leader Scott McLaughlin. He was able to hold on, though, and as the laps began to wind down, the no.48 car found some speed and began to work its way through the field. Soon, he was in the top fifteen, then the top ten, and at one point, in the top five.

The blue no.48 car had found some magic, reminiscent of days past, as Johnson put on his best performance in years.

In the final portion of the race, Johnson made passes on Indy 500 and series champions alike. An onlooker would have never guessed this was just his first oval race in an IndyCar. Johnson appeared as an IndyCar veteran by race’s end, and in the closing laps, he engaged in a battle with his Chip Ganassi teammate, six-time champion Scott Dixon, for the fifth spot. Johnson lost out, having to concede, which put Johnson in the sixth spot when the checkered flag dropped.

It was a vintage performance out of the longtime driver. And not a bad one for an IndyCar oval rookie, either.

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