Jimmie Johnson‘s car swap with Formula One driver Fernando Alonso last week in Bahrain got people’s imaginations running in high gear.
What else could the seven-time Cup champion try his hand at?
“I’d look at anything,” Johnson said after the car swap. “Anything is open. I’m far from done. I want to keep driving and hopefully I can find some good opportunities.”
Johnson’s contract with Hendrick Motorsports goes through 2020. Then the 43-year-old driver could have a lot more time on his hands if he doesn’t renew with the the only team he has ever raced for in Cup.
Johnson, who mentioned his interest in IndyCar road course races, also has had his eye on possibly competing in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, a six-night event held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in January.
The subject was broached by a fan on Twitter.
In the immediate wake of the car swap, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson, NASCAR drivers with dirt racing backgrounds, expressed their desire to get Johnson behind the wheel of a sprint car.
NASCAR drivers have a rich history in the Chili Bowl. Xfinity Series driver Christopher Bell is the two-time defending winner of the event. Former Camping World Truck Series driver Rico Abreu won the two years before that.
Three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart won it in 2007 and 2002 and former Cup driver Dave Blaney won it in 1993.
Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. have competed in the event every year since 2011 and Larson said earlier this year that “the Chili Bowl is bigger than the Daytona 500” for him.
NASCAR’s presence in the Chili Bowl will continue in 2019.
Alex Bowman, Johnson’s teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, is the only full-time NASCAR driver currently on the early entry list for the event.
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Christopher Bell continued the NASCAR theme during Ohio Sprint Speedweek by winning Tuesday night’s Arctic Cat Circuit of Champions race at Sharon Speedway.
Kyle Larson, who had won two previous nights of Ohio Sprint Speedweek, finished second. Former Truck racer Rico Abreu placed fourth. Former Xfinity driver Cale Conley was 11th. Former Cup driver Dave Blaney finished 16th. Former Cup champion Tony Stewart placed 24th.
Ohio Sprint Speedweek continues tonight at Atomic Speedway.
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A night after wrecking and heavily damaging his car, Kyle Larson came back to win round two of the Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek series Saturday night at Eldora Speedway.
Larson, competing in the first six rounds of the nine-round series with the Cup Series off this weekend, held off former NASCAR driver Dave Blaney late to win the A feature. Blaney fell to third on the last lap. Carson Macedo was second.
Rico Abreu finished 10th. Tony Stewart, who won the B feature, placed 16th. Kasey Kahne was 20th.
The victory is Larson’s first in the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions at Eldora. It is his seventh victory in the series.
“I made a mistake last night and it cost us a car,” Larson said, according to the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions report. “This really makes up for that. I’ve now won in every kind of car I have ever raced here at Eldora. That’s pretty cool considering I’ve only raced here like 10 times.”
Ohio Sprint Speedweek continues Sunday at Waynesfield Raceway Park.
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As a kid, Ryan Blaney never had any doubt that racing would be a part of his life. Growing up in the family business, he didn’t give it a lot of thought as he watched his father, Dave Blaney compete in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Racing was just always there.
Perhaps that is why even with only two full seasons under his belt, Blaney often has the demeanor of a veteran.
“Growing up in the sport and watching my Dad do it – you know, watching a lot of good times, bad times – you know, this sport is a rollercoaster,” Blaney said on Wednesday’s NASCAR America. “You’re not going to win every race. You’re going to lose a lot more races than you’re going to win. You have to learn to deal with that and move on from that, trying to figure out how to win the next one.”
And while racing was an almost foregone conclusion, success was not.
“Really not until you have some success … and that stuff until you realize you can make it at the Cup level or do it for a career. You just are never certain if it’s going to be enough or if you have what it takes.”
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Ryan Blaney‘s throwback paint scheme for this season’s Southern 500 is personal.
The Team Penske driver will pay tribute to the NASCAR career of his father, former Cup driver Dave Blaney, in the Sept. 2 race at Darlington Raceway.
The No. 12 Ford will look like the No. 77 Jasper sponsored Ford the elder Blaney drove in the 2003 Cup season.
The car was revealed on NASCAR’s Facebook Live page.
That year, Dave Blaney earned his first of two career Cup poles and his first of four top fives. The top five came in the spring race at Darlington.
Dave Blaney made 473 Cup starts from 1992 through 2014.
His son, in his first full-time season with Penske, will make his fourth Southern 500 start. His best finish is 13th in 2016.
Ryan Blaney is eighth in the Cup points standings through nine races.
MORE: Matt DiBenedetto pays tribute to Jeff Burton with Darlington scheme