Jimmie Johnson IndyCar Watch, Race 8: A big bump but still having a blast in Nashville

IndyCar Jimmie Johnson Nashville
Chris Jones/IndyCar
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NASHVILLE — Summarizing another eventful weekend in the NTT IndyCar Series, this time on the chaotic streets of the Music City Grand Prix, Jimmie Johnson had a point to make about his rookie season.

“I think so many people are used to me leading races, racing for wins and championships, and they may not give this series, or this switch, as much credit as it deserves just how difficult it is,” the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “But I’m having a blast, learning a ton. Every week I’m getting better and better. But unfortunately, I can’t run all the laps here today.”

That was because of the last of three incidents involving Johnson’s No. 48 Dallara-Honda, which suffered a damaged transmission during a multicar accident in Turn 11 on a Lap 19 restart.

Jimmie Johnson’s car is towed into the paddock after a warmup session crash Sunday morning (George Walker IV / Tennessean/USA TODAY Sports Images).

Johnson was relegated to a 26th-place finish after his team was disqualified for unapproved work under the red flag by IndyCar officials.

The Chip Ganassi Racing paddock and pit lane had been a blizzard of activity for several hours leading up to that penalty. After a wreck with two minutes left in a 20-minute warmup session, the team scrambled to prepare a backup car and got Johnson buckled in just before the green flag.

“Exciting day,” Johnson said. “Sadly, the car bottomed really bad approaching Turn 4 (after exiting the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge) in the warmup session and lifted the rear tires off the ground. I had a spectacular spin and crash. The team just worked their guts out to get the car — a new car, mind you — ready for me to race today.

Jimmie Johnson’s team scrambled to prepare a backup car before Sunday’s Music City Grand Prix (George Walker IV / Tennessean/USA TODAY Sports Images).

“We seemed to find our groove and get going and worked my way up a few spots. Caution came out, we left pit lane in the middle of the pack. Got back up to speed. And the guys in front of me had an issue going into Turn 11. I really felt like I had the accident missed and had some contact from behind. That contact damaged the shifting linkage for the transmission and ultimately put us out of the race.”

It put a damper on a weekend that had started well as Johnson posted solid lap times in practices Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. But he failed to register a qualifying speed after spinning on his out lap, which he attributed to an improper braking technique on cold tires.

“That’s a lesson learned,” he said. “What a bummer. I had a great (Saturday) in practice and really had been enjoying the Nashville GP course. And just on my out lap trying to get the tires up to temp, I was too aggressive into Turn 10. Locked the inside front tire. Found the inside wall and didn’t get to participate in qualifying.

So another rookie lesson learned. I was out on scuffed tires and filed away an important lesson learned with that experience.”

Big Machine Records CEO Scott Borchetta talks Sunday with Mario Andretti and Jimmie Johnson before the Music City Grand Prix (George Walker IV / Tennessean/USA TODAY Sports Images).

NEXT: Johnson will be making a return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Aug. 14. The 12th round of the 2021 season will be at 12:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN) as part of a weekend tripleheader with the NASCAR Xfinity and Cup series.

Johnson also will be testing in late August at Homestead-Miami Speedway as he prepares 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

RACE 7: An enjoyable ride at “awesome” Mid-Ohio

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

In eight starts, Johnson has completed 535 of 630 laps with an average start of 23.4 and an average finish of 22.5.

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
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The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)