At the end of last season, seven time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson retired from NASCAR racing. While Johnson has retired the stock car fire suit, he was not ready to hang up the helmet just yet and signed on to run road course races in the IndyCar Series for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Getting a head start on road racing, Johnson participated in the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 20.
After a rough start in qualifying, Johnson worked to get their Dpi Class car to the lead.
But in the end, it was all for naught. IMSA has strict rules about teams in endurance races and fellow driver Simon Pagenaud broke the drivers driving time rule by driving 50 seconds beyond his limit of four hours behind the wheel in a six hour period.
As a result, the team was placed in last place.
Speaking on the event, Johnson noted, “it’s been eventful”.
Early in the race, Johnson spun the car out and got into a wreck in turn 17 in an attempt to make a pass. Johnson said, “I have such respect for these drivers out here and for this race and this racetrack. You watch it on TV and think ‘I could do that’. And then you come here and race and realize how demanding this place is, these cars are, and how good the talent and the depth in this paddock is.”
Sebring has not been kind to Jimmie Johnson. During testing a few weeks ago, Johnson suffered a nasty bout of food poisoning.
He will begin his rookie season with Ganassi Racing in the 48 car beginning in April.