Johnson – No Relaxation In “Retirement”

Jimmie Johnson is as laser-focused as ever behind the wheel of his No. 48 Ally Cadillac. (Photo Credit: Jimmie Johnson Social Media)

Jimmie Johnson is as laser-focused as ever behind the wheel of his No. 48 Ally Cadillac. (Photo Credit: Jimmie Johnson Social Media)

NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson arrived at Daytona International Speedway Friday morning feeling as if he were in mid-season form. That is because Johnson has not let up. Since climbing out of NASCAR in November, he has been testing Indycars. The seven-time Cup Series champion is preparing for his inaugural season in the NTT IndyCar Series. Johnson will be driving for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Furthermore, Johnson will make his first Rolex 24 start in a decade this weekend. The driving duties of the No. 48 Ally Cadillac will be shared with Indy 500 champion Simon Pagenaud. Additionally, Johnson and Pagenaud will share the car with two-time Rolex 24 winner Kamui Kobayashi and veteran sports car ace Mike Rockenfeller.

Testing

“I would say this has been the busiest offseason I’ve ever had,’’ Johnson said with a laugh. “I was in an IndyCar immediately following the season finale for NASCAR. The IndyCar team and this prototype, there’s sim (sessions) for IndyCar and prototype, seats to be fit for all three cars and learning crew members, teams, systems, meetings. It is by far the busiest winter.”

Johnson continued, “Chandi and I joke all the time. We thought I was slowing down and it’s been way busier than any off-season.”

The No. 48 Ally Cadillac lays down laps during Roar Before the Rolex 24. (Photo Credit: Daytona International Speedway Social Media)

Hendrick Motorsports

A familiar face will be on the pit box for Johnson. Chad Knaus, crew chief for Johnson’s seven NASCAR Cup Series title runs, has signed on to help Action Express Racing on the engineering side of the Rolex 24 effort. Several Hendrick Motorsports crew members will be helping out in the pits as well.

A familiar face assisting the No. 48 Ally Cadillac team for the Rolex 24. (Photo Credit: Jimmie Johnson Social Media)

“We do have some Hendrick Motorsports guys sprinkled throughout the team,” Johnson said. “It’s been great to work with them. I just left the transporter where my teammates and I were getting into the driver data, and Chad’s on the computer. He’s been helping us find our way through and find the right settings to look at. So he’s definitely ingrained with the team.”

Johnson summed up his thoughts stating, “It’s awesome. There’s nothing weird about it and it’s very meaningful to me and I know it is to him, to be back working together. It’s been awesome and I’m really, really excited about it.’’

Be sure to tune into the Rolex 24 this weekend. You can also follow along via Johnson’s social channels for all the latest.

Stephen Conley

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera.

I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO.

The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth.

Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras.

My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports.

See you at a track soon

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