Johnson made the comment during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. He told Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone that he doesn’t have anything in the works just yet, but he left the door open for the Chicago street course race, as well as some other Cup Series events.
“I wouldn’t rule it out,” Johnson said during his appearance. “I don’t have anything in the works, but I’m certainly open to any ideas. And at this point of the season, everybody is kind of jockeying for position, working on sponsorship details.
“With all that being said, I’m not sure what I have in store next year. So, it could be more IndyCar, it could be a little bit of NASCAR. I’m certainly open to it, and I’ve had so much fun taking my helmet and driving different vehicles.”
Johnson is 12 races into his first full-time IndyCar Series season, and he is fresh off his career-best performance. He finished fifth at Iowa Speedway, marking his second top-10 finish of the year. He also finished sixth earlier in the season at Texas Motor Speedway.
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Johnson Has Previously Addressed the Possibility of a NASCAR Return
When Johnson announced that he would retire from full-time Cup Series competition and take on the IndyCar Series, he quickly began facing questions about his future. Many asked if he would make any one-off starts in NASCAR while focusing on a different series.
Johnson addressed the possibility of making a one-off start prior to the NASCAR/IndyCar Series crossover weekend in 2021. He told the Charlotte Observer that the logical path would have been to make some starts in a Chip Ganassi Racing-owned car, but that option was no longer possible after Trackhouse Racing purchased the team’s NASCAR operations and charters.
“Now that opportunity is no longer there, but the phone has been ringing some,” Johnson told the Observer. “There is some interest from other NASCAR teams out there. I wish that the rules would allow Hendrick to run a fifth car because I would love to come back with Mr. Hendrick and moonlight a little bit in one of his cars, but I don’t know if there’s a realistic way to pull that off.”
Johnson has not made any return to the NASCAR Cup Series since this conversation in 2021, but he remains interested. His latest interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio only adds further intrigue, especially with the series heading to the Windy City.
Johnson Could Pursue an Important Win
If Johnson does make a return for Chicago or any of the other Cup Series races, he could pursue a historic win. One more trip to Victory Lane would help him break a tie with Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough.
Johnson and Yarborough are both in a tie for sixth on the all-time wins list with 83 each. They are just ahead of Dale Earnhardt, who won 76 times prior to his death in 2001. If Johnson can win one more time, he would move into a tie with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.
Achieving this feat is easier said than done. Johnson would first have to decide to make his return to the NASCAR Cup Series. He would also need to partner with a team that fields race-winning equipment each week. Finally, he would have to adjust to the learning curve created by the Next Gen cars.