MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson finally got take part in his first test in an Indy car Tuesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The driver who was coaching him through the process was five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.
That’s a total of 12 major series championships between the two drivers.
Johnson drove a Chip Ganassi Racing Honda at the test. He was originally scheduled to drive an Arrow McLaren Racing SP Honda at Barber Motorsports Park the day after the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, but both the race and the test were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson was later scheduled to do a test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a few days after this year’s Brickyard 400, but that was canceled after Johnson tested positive for COVID-19.
Later that week, Johnson received two negative tests taken more than 24 hours apart and the Hendrick Motorsports driver returned to his NASCAR duties.
Johnson, who retires from full-time NASCAR competition this season, has publicly stated on numerous occasions that he would like to run a partial NTT IndyCar Series schedule on street and road course races beginning in 2021.
He took the first step toward that goal Tuesday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Dixon said of working with Johnson. “It’s been on-again, off-again for Jimmie for a lot of different reasons backing up to Alabama with another team and then the COVID situation. Third time was the charm for him to get out there.
“Tough conditions, low grip, Very hot today. It gives him a good feel of the what the car is like. Through the course of the day, it’s been a lot of fun to talk back and forth, what things are different for him, what things are similar to driving style and video content that we can go through to help him because what we do is so different than what he does.”
Johnson worked with several of Ganassi’s engineers and crew members along with Dixon. Team owner Chip Ganassi was also present for the test as well as Chip Ganassi Racing Managing Director Mike Hull.
“Honestly, he’s been a very good listener and very able at replicating videos, which isn’t easy to do,” Dixon said of Johnson. “To see the data and the video, he is able to go out and replicate that, that’s pretty cool.
“So, it’s been very, very good.”
Johnson told the Associated Press that is was like the “first day at school.”
“It only lit the fire more,” Johnson told AP. “I want to do this more than ever before. It was something new, something different. NASCAR has been so good to me and I am so proud of the success I’ve had. But to try something new, man, this was really cool.”
Posting plenty of IG Stories if you want to follow through the day —> https://t.co/GprdUWlIbZ
Suffice to say, today is already exceeding my expectations 😁 pic.twitter.com/0rI8VVyRps
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) July 28, 2020