Jimmie Johnson added to IndyCar iRacing Challenge opener

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Jimmie Johnson will get a head start on his hopes of racing against the stars of IndyCar.

The seven-time NASCAR champion was added Friday to the entry list of Saturday’s IndyCar iRacing Challenge. The opener of the six-race series will be contested at Watkins Glen International.

Incidentally, Johnson is winless at the road course in NASCAR and once had an infamous shunt into the tire barriers during an Xfinity race in August 2000). It’s one of only three tracks (Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway are the others) that he hasn’t conquered in Cup.

Johnson has spent much of his time racing IndyCar on his home simulator, recently explaining that his simulation rig was designed to mimic IndyCar instead of NASCAR.

A relative novice in online stock cars, he made an inauspicious debut in the NASCAR iRacing event at Homestead-Miami Speedway last Sunday, causing a memorable caution and finishing 31st.

 “Not a great showing. I’m going to take all the responsibility,” Johnson said. “I’ve not spent a lot of time in iRacing or really racing at all on sims. So I’m learning my way through that. Lots of things to learn within the race. I didn’t even have a spotter, which seemed to be a problem a couple of times with wrecks, race format, just a lot of race details.”

Johnson has expressed much interest in IndyCar over the past year.

He attended the open test in Austin, Texas, in February and indicated he wanted to run part time in the series after his last full-time season in NASCAR this year. He had been scheduled to test a Chevrolet for Arrow McLaren SP next month at Barber Motorsports Park before the session was canceled

Last week, Johnson tweeted that IndyCar remains on his “bucket list” despite the interruption of the NASCAR season for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Conor Daly honors friend killed Saturday amid Indianapolis unrest

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IndyCar driver Conor Daly posted a poignant tribute to Chris Beaty, a former Indiana University football player and Indianapolis business owner who was killed Saturday amid protests and rioting in the city.

Daly said he got to know Beaty, who owned an event and marketing promotions company, five years ago when he was organizing Indianapolis 500 afterparties.

Daly annually had been involved in Beaty’s parties since then and said Beaty helped get him home earlier this year when Daly’s blood sugar crashed while at an event.

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“The world lost a tremendous person. RIP Chris Beaty,” wrote Daly, who also tweeted “The violence has to stop.”

According to the Indianapolis Star, Beaty died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds during Saturday night’s unrest in downtown Indianapolis. It’s unclear if the shooting was tied to the protests.

Graham Rahal also posted about his interaction with Beaty.

Daly, Rahal and the rest of the IndyCar Series will return to action Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBC).