Jimmie Johnson wrecks at end of first segment of Sprint Unlimited

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Jimmie Johnson wrecked on the final lap of the first segment of Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.

It was the only caution of the first of three segments. Johnson had started from the back of the 18-car field and worked his way up to as high as second before the mishap occurred on Lap 30.

“I was trying to set up a pass on the 11 and work the air, and in the end I got turned around there,” he said.

TV replays showed that no other car made contact with Johnson, but that he simply lost the draft and took a hard left, eventually making contact with the inner retaining wall.

The man Johnson was trying to pass, Denny Hamlin, won the first segment.

Jamie McMurray led much of first half of the first segment before having to hit pit road to have tape applied to his car’s grill to reduce an overheating issue. Kyle Busch then took the lead.

Terry Labonte took his car to the garage after the 15th lap and retired from the race.

Tony Stewart fell to last on the 18-car grid after Labonte left the track, but then roared back, going from 17th to sixth in six laps.

Stewart also recorded the fastest speed of all drivers with a single-lap best of 200.3 mph.

Johnson had started in the back of the field and proceed to jump14 spots, from 18th (last) to third place by Lap 17.

Harvick took over lead on Lap 20, with Johnson right behind.

Danica Patrick also impressed, moving from 13th to third (Laps 18 to 21) before falling back.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. flirted near the front of the lead before falling back to 16th.

The second segment, 25 laps, just started.

The third and final segment will be 20 laps.

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Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.