7-time Cup champ Johnson to test IndyCar ride


AVONDALE, Ariz. — Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said he will do an IndyCar team test with McLaren Racing on April 6.

Johnson said Saturday he wasn’t sure whether the one-day team test in Birmingham, Alabama, would lead to an IndyCar future, but he’s intrigued by the “totally different environment” of open-wheel racing.

“There’s a chance I won’t like it, but I think the chances are low,” Johnson said. “More than anything, I’m just thankful [about] McLaren and the friendship I have there with [CEO] Zak Brown, where he’s like: ‘Hey, man, come give it a shot. See what you think. You take a look at it. We’ll take a look at you.'”

The 44-year-old Johnson said he wasn’t sure what engineer he’d be working with during the test or if it would lead to further discussions.

“There’s nothing on the books now that has been discussed with it being so early in the year,” Johnson said. “There’s still time to get some more tests. We’ll know more after April 6 and reevaluate from there.”

It will not be the first time that Johnson gets in the driver’s seat of an open-wheel race car. Through a friendship with Fernando Alonso, Johnson swapped rides with the Formula One driver at the Bahrain International Circuit in November 2018.

After several attempts, Johnson managed to set a time within two-tenths of a second of Alonso’s benchmark in a 2013 McLaren F1 car.

Johnson already has announced that 2020 will be his final season running a full-time schedule in the Cup series.

“It’s great for NASCAR as well, especially if I go run well,” Johnson said. “We’ve seen drivers come this way, and no one’s really gone that way. Kurt [Busch] did recently and did a hell of a job at Indy, which did a lot of good for our sport.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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