Jimmie Johnson IndyCar Watch, Race 6: The learning curve continues at Road America

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Jimmie Johnson knew his rookie season in the NTT IndyCar Series would be an ongoing education, and Road America was another edifying experience for the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion.

Johnson finished 22nd of 25 drivers Sunday in his No. 48 Dallara-Honda. He also spun in Turn 7 to cause a yellow on Lap 16 (the fifth caution flag he has been involved in through six starts this season).

Though he placed a spot ahead of where he qualified Saturday, the race seemed more of a slog for Johnson, who had shown flashes of speed in practice after entering the race weekend at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course with experience from having tested.

“For me a very good Father’s Day,” he said. “Unfortunately, one mistake made at the exit of turn 7 really cost me and got me a lap down. Once you’re a lap down on these road courses, there’s really no way to recover from that.

“But a lot of laps logged, a lot learned and sooner or later, I’ll get a good clean race and I think our results will be much better than what we posted the last few finishes. But on to Mid-Ohio. Can’t wait to get back in this Carvana Honda and do it again.”

After tweeting Saturday “had been a good day,” Johnson summed up Road America in a Monday tweet as “learn*ing – the acquistion of knowledge or skills through experience, study or by being taught.”

It might have been better if Johnson had been able to start slightly higher on the 4.014-mile, 14-turn road course that struck his eye. Johnson said he had trouble getting a handle on the two sets of red tires that he ran for two laps apiece in qualifying.

“I really didn’t get into the rhythm at the peak of the tire,” he said. “Just didn’t get all I could out of the car. A few little mistakes here and there. But live and learn. I think one long session probably would have been best for me, and I could have been another second or so faster.

“We’ll take it. And every lap right now makes such a big difference for me and my confidence and ability in the car. We’ll keep plugging along.”

Jimmie Johnson with his family on the grid at Road America (James Black/IndyCar).

Though Sunday was a less than stellar result, Johnson did get to celebrate in victory lane as Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Palou scored his second victory of the season and retook the points lead with seven races left in the season.

Joe Skibinski/IndyCar

NEXT: Johnson will be making his debut July 4 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The 10th round of the 2021 season will be at noon ET (NBC).

Johnson’s schedule also was shortened by a race this week with news that IndyCar won’t replace the Toronto race (which was scrubbed for the second consecutive season because of the COVID-19 pandemic). That leaves 12 street and road courses for Johnson and his Chip Ganassi Racing team.


JOHNSON’S ROOKIE SEASON

The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is racing 12 road and street course events this year. Here’s how he has fared in previous races:

RACE 1: How Jimmie fared in the season opener

RACE 2: Rough day at the office in St. Petersburg

RACES 4-5: A challenging weekend at the Detroit Grand Prix

In six starts, Johnson has completed 438 of 470 laps with an average start of 22.8 and an average finish of 22nd.
AUTO: JUN 18 INDYCAR - Road America
Jimmie Johnson finished 22nd at Road America (Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:


Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change