Jimmie Johnson takes a wrong turn, loses track position in first half-triathlon

4 Comments

Jimmie Johnson knows how to get around racetracks. But when it comes to a half-triathlon, he could use a map or GPS to keep him pointed in the right direction.

The six-time Sprint Cup champion took part in a half-triathlon on Saturday in Naples, Florida. Also competing were fellow NASCAR drivers Josh Wise and Landon Cassill.

While Wise and Cassill kept it on the straight and narrow, such was not the case for Johnson.

He made a wrong turn and got lost for a short while.

Oh boy, did he ever get lost.

Things went well in the swimming (1.2 miles) and the 13.1-mile running competition for Johnson.

But when it came to the 56-mile bike ride, Johnson went off-course – missing the first turn, no less, and then pedaled over a mile in the wrong direction (and then had to retrace his steps for yet another mile-plus) – to the tune of an extra 2.3 miles.

All told, Johnson covered the entire 70 miles – well, in his case, 72.3 miles – in four hours, 42 minutes.

“I was hoping to do 4 (hours), 30 (minutes),” Johnson told the Naples (Fla.) News. “Without those extra couple of miles, I think I would have been there.”

To his credit, even with the extra mileage he tacked on, Johnson still finished 15th among all the male competitors. It was the first half-triathlon that Johnson has ever completed.

How’s Johnson feeling today, one day later?

As for Wise, he won his age group at 4:26.34, also good for sixth overall. Cassill was first in his age group at 4:30.13, and ninth overall.

Johnson, who hopes to eventually run a full triathlon in the future, was asked what the overall experience was like.

“It was a long and lonely 70 miles,” Johnson told the Naples News.

Well, 72.3 miles, to be precise.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Charlie Kimball joins A.J. Foyt Racing; Tony Kanaan expected back

Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A.J. Foyt has hired Charlie Kimball to drive its No. 4 Chevrolet in the 2020 NTT IndyCar season.

Kimball will return to a full-time schedule after seven races last season with Carlin Racing. This will mark his 10th consecutive season of driving in IndyCar. In 141 starts, he has one victory (in 2013 at Mid-Ohio).

“I wouldn’t have survived another partial schedule, and I’m not sure my marriage would have survived,” Kimball said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. “It was really tough watching in races when I wasn’t in the car. The consistency allows me to stay in the rhythm.”

A.J. Foyt Racing fielded cars last year for Matheus Leist in the No. 4 and Tony Kanaan in the No. 14. Team president Larry Foyt told reporters that the No. 14 car’s 2020 schedule was “a work in progress and hopefully have some news on that in the next few weeks.”

Asked if Kanaan, who has driven for Foyt since 2018, still will be with the team, Foyt said, “I’m sure he will. We’ve been working together and getting everything buttoned up.”

Here’s the full release from A.J. Foyt Racing:

Veteran IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball joins AJ Foyt Racing as the full-time driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet with backing from his long-time sponsor Novo Nordisk. The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season marks Kimball’s 10th consecutive season in IndyCar and his 12th season of partnership with the global healthcare company.

Kimball, who ran a partial season of seven races in 2019, returns as a full-time driver in the 17-race NTT IndyCar Series this year. The No. 4 car will carry a Novo Nordisk branded livery in the following races: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, GMR Grand Prix (Indianapolis), Texas Indy 600 (Ft. Worth), Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway (Madison, Ill.) and the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. Novo Nordisk will be an associate marketing partner in the remaining 11 races.

“I’m excited and honored to join AJ Foyt Racing and be a part of a team that has such deep roots in history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar,” said Kimball, who lives in Indianapolis. “Continuing the partnership with Novo Nordisk is also special since they have been an integral part of my career since I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I’m more motivated than ever to work with the team to succeed at every IndyCar race in 2020. Thank you to AJ Foyt Racing, Novo Nordisk and our other partners for this opportunity.”

Team President Larry Foyt expects the partnership with Novo Nordisk and the addition of Charlie Kimball, an IndyCar Series race winner at Mid-Ohio (2013) and a pole winner at Texas Motor Speedway (2017), to invigorate his No. 4 Texas-based team this season.

“Charlie brings a great deal of experience and skill to the team,” Foyt said. “He is motivated to show what he can do behind the wheel, and his recent experience of helping develop cars will be beneficial as we work to get the 4 car moving up the grid. Novo Nordisk has been a long-time supporter of Charlie and IndyCar. We want to welcome them to AJ Foyt Racing and we look forward to joining them in their effort to increase the awareness of diabetes.”

Kimball has posted six podium (top-3) finishes, and an additional eight top-5s. He has finished in the top-10 (6th through 10th) 41 times and has led 163 laps in 141 races.

“We are proud to continue our long-term partnership with Charlie Kimball and look forward to an exciting 2020 IndyCar season with the legendary AJ Foyt Racing,” said Brian Hilberdink, Senior Vice President, Commercial Diabetes at Novo Nordisk. “For more than a decade, we’ve utilized our involvement in IndyCar to share Charlie’s inspiring journey living with diabetes through the Race with Insulin initiative. Charlie is one of the most active ambassadors in the diabetes community and his passion and commitment to making a difference in the lives of those who are living with diabetes is unwavering. We look forward to continuing this tradition with AJ Foyt Racing, Charlie and the diabetes community throughout the IndyCar season.”

Foyt expects to make further announcements regarding new primary sponsors for the team in the near future.