When it comes to fulfilling a lifelong dream of running the Indianapolis 500, Jimmie Johnson – who was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday for the first time to watch an IndyCar practice – admits that ship has sailed for him.
“I know that this oval is probably not going to happen for me ever,” Johnson told NBC Sports. “That opportunity has passed for me.”
But, Johnson isn’t totally ruling out a potential one-off in an Indy car – just not at Indianapolis.
“I grew up watching Indy cars and some day down the road I’d love the chance to race in a road course event or something like that,” he said.
Johnson already knows what it’s like to be an Indianapolis winner: he has four victories there in the Brickyard 400.
Last November, the NASCAR Cup veteran fulfilled a dream of a different sort, trading rides with two-time Formula One champ Fernando Alonso at the International Circuit in Bahrain. No similar opportunity has been presented to him to trade cars with an IndyCar driver.
But Johnson certainly liked what he saw during Thursday’s practice.
“It’s highly impressive, there’s no way around that,” Johnson said. “It’s been a neat experience and certainly to see these cars go by at 220-plus (mph).
“I’m just really enjoying today. I’ve always watched on TV and said, ‘Man, I should go (to Indy).’ And I just made it happen today and I’m here.”