Jimmie Johnson IndyCar Watch, Race 7: An enjoyable ride at ‘awesome’ Mid-Ohio

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Jimmie Johnson often describes his rookie season in the NTT IndyCar Series as “a journey,” and his favorite stretch of road so far might be Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Though he finished 22nd (for the second consecutive race) after starting 25th Sunday on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course, Johnson lost none of his enthusiasm for Mid-Ohio and avoided trouble on the track’s roller-coaster layout.

“Really good day here at Mid-Ohio,” Johnson said. ” Last two sets of tires, I really found confidence and pace. Made some good adjustments on the pit stops. Kind of slotted in in the middle of the pack, ran with (Rinsu) VeeKay in front of me and (Simon) Pagenaud in front of him and closed out the laps and ran some really competitive lap times the last stint and a half.

“Very, very proud of that. It’s what we needed. We’ll build on this and head to the next one.”

Sunday was the best day for Johnson, who ranked last in three practice sessions over Friday and Saturday but didn’t seem discouraged by it, referring to Mid-Ohio as an “awesome racetrack” after tackling its rolling hills for the first time. He also filled his social media feeds with updates of the bucolic facility in Lexington, Ohio.

“What a place,” Johnson said Friday. “Just a fun, fun track. Tons of elevation change. The grip level changed so much from the start to the end, so really fit my progression. Made very little changes. Really just focused on getting the laps.

“This place definitely overdelivered. Not many drivers talked to me about it coming in, so I think this one is a bit of a sleeper from an experience standpoint.”


NEXT: Johnson will be making his fourth street course start of the season as IndyCar makes its Aug. 8 debut on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, with the Music City Grand Prix. The 11th round of the 2021 season will be at 5:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN).

Johnson’s schedule was shortened by a race with news IndyCar announcing it 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 also has begun exploring oval tests for a possible Indy 500 attempt next year.


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

RACE 6: One critical mistake at Road America

‘HE’S GOING TO GET THERE’: An inside look at Jimmie Johnson’s rookie season at the halfway mark

In seven starts, Johnson has completed 517 of 558 laps with an average start of 23.1 and an average finish of 22nd.
Jimmie Johnson turns a lap at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Joe Skibinski/IndyCar).

Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series triples to 34 races in 2023

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023
Xtreme Outlaw Series
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After hosting 10 rounds in 2022, the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series 2023 schedule will more than triple to 34 races. The 2022 season featured seven different winners in the first seven races, a female racer in Jade Avedisian as the only repeat winner and Zach Daum as the champion.

“Dirt Midget racing is a growing entity in American motorsports, and the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota is proud to drive further into the growth of the division with both a diverse and lucrative schedule for 2023,” newly appointed Series Director Tyler Bachman said in a press release. “From the kickoff at our first indoor event, to each of the new tracks we’re set to visit next year, it’s a lineup we know both our teams and fans will enjoy.”

The championship purse fund has also more than double with an increase of $42,000 to $80,000 in 2023. The champion will win $25,000. Last year, Daum pocketed $10,000.

In addition, the series will offer tow money to the top 12 in points. Six drivers attempted to qualify for all 10 races in 2022 with 89 drivers attending.

The series will begin on March 10 at Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill. and end the same place it did in 2022 at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City on October 15.

During the season, they will visit 21 tracks in 10 states.

Some highlights of the season include the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series pairing up with the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars in 2023 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. in April for the Outlaw Showdown and again in August for the Ironman 55 weekend, as well as the creation of a five-day Midget Speedweek.

The Midget Speedweek will immediately follow the Ironman 55 with a swing through Pennsylvania and New York.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023 Schedule

Friday, March 10 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Saturday, March 11 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Friday, March 31 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.

Saturday, April 1 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.
Friday, April 14 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Saturday, April 15 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.

Friday, May 5 | Humboldt Speedway | Humboldt, Kan.
Saturday, May 6 | 81 Speedway | Park City, Kan.
Tuesday, May 23 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.
Wednesday, May 24 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.

Thursday, June 1 | Tri-City Speedway | Pontoon Beach, Ill.
Friday, June 2 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.
Saturday, June 3 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.

Friday, July 21 | TBA
Saturday, July 22 | Southern Illinois Raceway | Marion, Ill.
Friday, July 28 | TBA
Saturday, July 29 | Atomic Speedway | Chillicothe, Ohio
Sunday, July 30 | Brushcreek Motorsports Complex | Peebles, Ohio

Friday, August 4 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Sat, August 5 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Tuesday, August 8 | Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway | Newmanstown, Pa.
Wednesday, August 9 | Action Track USA | Kutztown, Pa.
Thursday, August 10 | Linda’s Speedway | Jonestown, Pa.
Friday, August 11 | TBA
Saturday, August 12 | Bridgeport Motorsports Park | Swedesboro, N.J.
Friday, August 25 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa
Saturday, August 26 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa

Friday, September 1 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Saturday, September 2 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Friday, September 15 | Jacksonville Speedway | Jacksonville, Ill.
Saturday, September 16 | Red Hill Raceway | Sumner, Ill.

Friday, October 13 | Port City Raceway | Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, October 14 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sunday, October 15 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.

* Co-sanctioned with POWRi