Jimmie Johnson wants to drive in IndyCar race on July 4 at Indianapolis

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NASCAR and IndyCar might have found the next driver ready to do “The Double” – with a twist.

Jimmie Johnson told NBC Sports’ Leigh Diffey in a Friday interview (video above) that he will take a “very hard look” at racing in the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course July 4. As part of IndyCar’s revamped schedule, the race was moved from May 9 and will take place directly before the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

The seven-time Cup Series champion will be in town to race the Brickyard 400 the following day.

“I think that would be an awesome opportunity,” Johnson told Diffey. “Clearly a lot of things to sort out, and I haven’t even asked permission yet to pull it off. But I love the idea and am so thankful Graham (Rahal) brought it up because I would have probably missed it and reacted too late.”

Rahal posted a Twitter video about the schedule yesterday and also tweeted about recruiting Johnson, who has expressed an interest in running IndyCar part time next season.

Johnson had planned to test at Barber Motorsports Park next month before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic brought racing to a standstill.

“What’s funny is (Rahal) was texting me yesterday,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, then I looked on Twitter and understood what he threw out there. I am so thankful he brought that up. I have not looked at the schedule. I know that IndyCar posted (a schedule), but with NASCAR’s schedule up in the air, my head wasn’t even around that.

“So if that is the case, and those weekends do line up, I’ll take a very hard look at it.”

Johnson said he would have to run the idea by Hendrick Motorsports.

“Definitely, there’s approvals on my side from my team, Mr. Hendrick, sponsors,” Johnson said. “It would be a Chevy, so that part would be pretty easy to pull off. That approval process would really be it.

“I’d find out pretty quickly. I’m not sure I’d ever get the answer I wanted, but I’d find out quickly.”

Rahal told NBCSports.com’s Bruce Martin in a Thursday interview about sending the tweet to Johnson: “We all know he is going to come here in the future. Right now, he wants to stay committed to his craft and what he is doing” in NASCAR.

Johnson already will be racing against IndyCar competition Saturday, having been added to the IndyCar iRacing Challenge that will be held at Watkins Glen International at 4 p.m. ET.

The July 4 weekend would mark the first IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader, but there have been crossovers before.

There have been four drivers who raced “The Double” — running the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day: John Andretti (1994), Tony Stewart (1999, 2001), Robby Gordon (2000, ’02, ’03, ‘04) and Kurt Busch (2014).

Simon Pagenaud’s engineer relives 2019 Indy 500 victory on Twitter

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The Team Penske engineer for last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner is reliving Simon Pagenaud’s day by tweeting about what he was doing each moment a year later.

Starting with an observation that he awoke in his Indianapolis hotel room at 4:30 a.m., Ben Bretzman (@benbretzman) sent nearly two dozen tweets by 11 a.m. ET about how the morning before the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 unfolded.

Bretzman was through the infield tunnel and in Gasoline Alley by 6 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., he was wondering if his driver was awake yet, but he had heard for the first time from Pagenaud 45 minutes later.

‘BACK HOME AGAIN’Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, NBC

FIERCE FRIENDSHIPPagenaud, Rossi recall epic battle of 2019 Indy 500

Among other highlights: The team’s last strategy meeting was at 8:30 a.m.; final check of the weather was at 9:30 a.m. and Bretzman gave the No. 22 Dallara-Chevrolet a once-over at 10:35 a.m. before it was pushed to the grid.

Follow @BenBretzman to watch the day unfold from the pit box and tune into “Back Home Again at 2 p.m. ET on NBC as Pageanud and Alexander Rossi, who are good friends off the track, recap their epic duel with host Mike Tirico.

Simon Pagenaud and engineer Ben Bretzman debrief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski).