Jimmie Johnson: Having Fun, Learning, and Family

Jimie Johnson stopped by the media center for a few minutes this morning. He discussed his growing comfort with Indycar and his family support system.

Johnson first talked about feeling less nervous before his first Indycar oval race compared to his first NASCAR race.

“I’d say they’re (nerves) a lot better. I think experience helps. It’s not my first time really being on the grid with these competitors and the bright spotlight of IndyCar racing. So what I’m thinking of is my first Daytona 500 And that was my rookie season and cup and I was really nervous and that part of it started on pole. “

The second year Chip Ganassi Racing driver shared his team’s approach to qualifying for his first oval race.

” I felt like we made sure that the car was plenty comfortable and slowly worked our way closer to our teammates’ setups. And as I was showing the desire to move at a quicker pace, I was reminded multiple times that we’re really building towards Indy and we don’t want to lose your confidence. We don’t want to tear up a car. Let’s be smart. And the real goal is to have our most competitive showing at the Indy 500. So you know the race certainly and I wanted to push and move a little quicker through our setup plan. But I certainly understand where we’re coming from.”

He described his qualifying run as way too comfortable.

“Some of my speed yesterday was due to the fact that we kept the cockpit comfortable for me and I wasn’t moving things around like my teammates and others go that fast. So you know, looking back on it, I wish I would have gone on my controls just didn’t understand. If there would be any fall off in the car and if the balance would migrate one direction or the other. And from my opening lap in qualifying the car was very comfortable. And I quickly should have done on the way jacker in the bars to to help the car but it was an easy flat it felt good and drove the best that it had. And and I I regret that I didn’t make adjustments straightaway to the car. Look into the data. My scrub speed through the center of the turns is where I lost my time.”

Johnson says pit stops in Indycar are different from NASCar

“I’m not used to crew members being out over the wall prior to arriving and that’s pretty intimidating to come in as fast as you need to with crew members in position to change tires. But AT speed it doesn’t look like there’s enough room to fit, you know, into the box. And not only do you have your crew to worry about, but oftentimes other teams and they’re allowed to set tires and leak them out prior to you know their car arriving. So visually quite you know just so much different than what I’ve ever been used to. And then the from an oval standpoint, I have some really good reference points stayed on the racetrack and three turns three and four were brake and how to get on a bit lane. It here we enter pit lane in turn three so racing around on the apron which is dirty doesn’t have much rubber certainly not the banking that’s been a new element learned as well. “

Overall, Johnson said he is having fun in Indycar.

“I am having fun and that’s what this is about this part of my life, my career. But at the same time, I’m a competitor and coming to an oval for the first time my own personal expectations rise. You’re too on road street courses my own personal expectations rise. Look back at St. Pete And in qualifying. I’m still very frustrated with how my performance the performance I gave in qualifying race went much better in like get here and qualifying 18th is my best qualifying effort. But in my gut I wanted to qualify top 10. That was just like an internal personal goal that I set. “

Johnson would not be in Indycar without the support of his family.

“We’re just really trying to think hard through it all. And at the end of the day, my family looked to me and said you know if you’re comfortable, we’re comfortable. And I also feel that the Aeroscreen is just a massive game changer for single seater racing.

We’re very close knit family and we try to support each other with all that goes on. I mean, our girls very active with their after school programs, and of course their education. My wife has an art gallery. I have racing. I mean, our schedule is so packed and I feel like we’re all supporting each other. And I can literally tell you where we’ll be every every day, every week and every weekend for all of 2022 Just the way our schedules, you know are so stacked and laid out. So, next weekend I’ll be supporting my daughter’s at a horse show. Shani has a big art event that she’s going to travel to and I’m going to be a horse dad at a horse show North Carolina. So hopefully I handle that right so your first experience for me? Solo I should say. So ultimately, you know, there’s just so much support for all of us for one another. “