Jimmie Johnson Sets Date for IndyCar Oval Test, Eyeing Indy 500

Jimmie Johnson

Getty Jimmie Johnson attends an IndyCar test in Austin.

The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is returning to a site of a former victory. IndyCar driver Jimmie Johnson has set a date to test an Indy car on an oval track. He will head to Homestead-Miami Speedway, the site of his 2016 championship victory.

According to “Jayski,” Johnson confirmed on July 27 that he will head to the 1.5-mile oval in August for his first oval test. He will test out his Honda Indy car and gain some meaningful experience. This test will be an important step toward another of Johnson’s goals. He has his eye on an Indy 500 start in 2022.

Chip Ganassi Racing relied on a separate driver during the 2021 Indy 500. Tony Kanaan climbed into the No. 48 Honda for the iconic race. He started fifth overall and turned in a 10th-place finish while Helio Castroneves celebrated his fourth Indy 500 win.

Johnson Cleared Up His Plans for the 2022 Season

With the former NASCAR champion testing out an Indy car at an oval track, he will automatically create questions about his plans for the 2022 season. Specifically, will he try to start every single race?

Johnson provided the answer on July 27. He clarified that he will probably not compete full-time during the 2022 season. His plans could ultimately change, but he doesn’t believe at the moment that he will add any ovals to his schedule that primarily focuses on road and street courses.

“It’s just too early to tell,” Johnson said. “Right now, it’s really just focused on getting ready for the 500. It would depend on how the test would go. Honestly to run a full schedule next year would really be complicated, so I don’t know how realistic that opportunity would be at the end of the day.”

Johnson has made seven starts during the 2021 IndyCar season for Chip Ganassi Racing. He has qualified outside of the top 20 every single time while adapting to a very different style of race car. His best finish was 19th at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 18.

Six Races Remain in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series Schedule

Johnson’s return to an oval track will take place in August, the same month that IndyCar heads to a new circuit. The series will travel to Nashville on Aug. 8 for the inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.

This historic race is one of six remaining on the 2021 schedule, and it will test the drivers in a variety of ways. They will have to navigate a course that runs through the parking lot of Nissan Stadium, the home of the Tennessee Titans, before heading to parts of downtown Nashville. The Music City GP will also mark the first time that a professional race crosses a body of water when it goes over the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Cumberland River.

Johnson will take part in the inaugural Music City GP while trying to “dig out of a hole.” As he told “Motorsport,” the other competitors having no experience at the track might benefit him as he tries to turn in a season-best finish, but he still has to put in considerable work to prepare.

The 80-lap Music City GP will take place on Aug. 8, capping off an action-packed weekend in Nashville. The race will begin at 5:30 p.m. ET and will air live on NBC Sports Network.

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