Jimmie Johnson wants to set new personal bests in IndyCar at Texas Motor Speedway


Though denied a lap during a scrubbed IndyCar test last week at Texas Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson still soaked in some old glory in a very familiar victory lane.

Renamed in 2020 as “the Jimmie Johnson Winners Circle” for his record seven NASCAR Cup Series victories at the 1.5-mile oval, Johnson gazed at a wall of plaques honoring a quarter-century of victors at the track north of Fort Worth.

He flashed back to his first win there on Nov. 4, 2007 – an “epic side-by-side battle” with Matt Kenseth that ranked as “one of my favorite battles ever in a Cup car.

INDYCAR AT TEXAS: How to watch Saturday on Sunday on Peacock and NBC

“That one was really special for me,” Johnson said Wednesday morning during a Zoom news conference to preview his NTT IndyCar Series oval debut Sunday at Texas (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC). “Honestly, from a pure driving standpoint, it was my favorite mile-and-a-half (track) that we competed on. There’s just so many lanes, so many options, big bumps, lots of character in the track.

“I don’t remember a ton specifically from that (2007 victory), but I remember the mental awareness I had. Certainly some of the mental coaching I did to myself to really try to finish that pass off with Matt, knowing it was Matt, he raced me clean and allowed me to get in there and race that hard that late in the season.”

More than 14 years later, Texas will mark a new phase of “Jimmie 2.0” that began with his entry into IndyCar last season. In 2022, he has moved into a full-time schedule that was driven by his expected debut in the Indy 500 (at a track where he and Jeff Gordon are tied with a NASCAR record four victories on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval).

Texas will be the lone oval tune-up for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, and Johnson’s already limited experience was hampered further last week when inclement weather kept his No. 48 Dallara-Honda off track.

The seven-time Cup champion with 82 oval victories in NASCAR’s premier series has been on an oval only twice in IndyCar. Both were one-day tests: at Texas last August and a Rookie Orientation Program session last October at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that also was shortened by rain.

“I got some laps but running at reduced speed and not at the edge of what the car is capable of,” Johnson said of the ROP test. “We really didn’t adjust the car to fit my senses, to help me understand what changes do on that ragged edge.

“I’m thankful for every lap that I have had so far, but I still have plenty to learn in single-car running. I still haven’t been in traffic, and these cars are much more sensitive in traffic than what I anticipated from watching. I’ve watched every video humanly possible. I’m still surprised how big of a tow these cars receive exiting Turn 2 to Turn 1, how much distance you can close. Working on the timing of that.

“It was something I was hopeful to experience at a test session, get a sense of closing rate, get a sense of how the turbulent air affects the car in Turns 1 and 2, how to set up a pass. I’ll have to use the two hours of practice (Saturday) to maximize that, get a sense of it, so I can have the best race craft possible heading into the event.

Additionally, Texas was overhauled in 2017, and though Johnson won the first race after the reconfiguration, his other six wins came on the former layout that he misses for “how many lanes there were to find a place to run, get your car to work.

“I still have plenty to learn coming to a track I know and love,” he said.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver does have the confidence of having matched teammate and six-time series champion Scott Dixon’s pace on his second lap during the Texas test — indicative of the immediate comfort he was expecting to feel in five oval races this season.

At speeds that are roughly 30 mph faster than NASCAR, Johnson also discovered the IndyCar racing line at Texas was narrower on turn entry and exit (keeping the car away the corner transitions that have been tricky ever since the track opened in 1997). He plans to be “focused on chasing that white line as much as possible” on the bottom groove after being warned by many IndyCar drivers about the residual effects of traction compound used for NASCAR races having eliminated the outside lane.

His goals are lofty for this weekend: A career-best starting position (Johnson has yet to qualify higher than 21st in 13 starts on road and street courses) and the first top 10 finish of his IndyCar career.

“Ultimately I want to run every lap of the race,” he said. “I’m so new into my IndyCar experience, starting all over on ovals, every lap is going to be a marked amount of experience gained.

“We’re trying to build up for the Indy 500. Everyone knows how special the Indy 500 is. It’s the second oval on the schedule. Every lap I make will be very beneficial.”

And could the final lap land him in the victory lane that bears his name?

Though Texas was his fourth winningest NASCAR track after Dover (11 wins), Martinsville (9) and Charlotte (8), Johnson isn’t expecting to leave his first IndyCar race there with a winning memory like 2007 yet.

“I don’t think that’s realistic,” he said. “Some people may have that expectation and that’s fine. I would love that to be the case. Whenever you enter the new series, you’re with the regulars, they’re so good at what they do. We have seen it when drivers try to cross over from various series.

“I certainly have higher expectations for myself, but I’m not thinking I’m going to show up, qualify on pole, lead the most laps and win the race.”

IndyCar results, points after 107th Indy 500


INDIANAPOLIS — With his first victory in the Indy 500, Josef Newgarden became the first repeat winner through six race results of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season and made a move in the points.

Newgarden, who celebrated with fans in the grandstands, moved from sixth to fourth in the championship standings with his 27th career victory and second this season (he also won at Texas Motor Speedway).

The Team Penske star won his 12th attempt at the Brickyard oval, tying the record for most starts before an Indy 500 victory with Tony Kanaan (2013) and Sam Hanks (1957). Newgarden, whose previous best Indy 500 finish was third with Ed Carpenter Racing in 2016, became the first Tennessee native to win the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and the first American since Alexander Rossi in 2016.

He also delivered the record 19th Indy 500 triumph to Roger Penske, whose team ended a four-year drought on the 2.5-mile oval and won for the first time since he became the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar in 2020.

Newgarden, 32, led five laps, the third-lowest total for an Indy 500 winner behind Joe Dawson (two in 1912) and Dan Wheldon (one in 2011).

The race featured 52 lead changes, the third most behind 68 in 2013 and 54 in ’16, among 14 drivers (tied with ’13 for the second highest behind 15 leaders in ’17 and ’18). Newgarden’s 0.0974-second victory over Marcus Ericsson was the fourth-closest in Indy 500 history behind 1992 (0.043 of a second for Al Unser Jr. over Scott Goodyear), 2014 (0.0600 of a second for Ryan Hunter-Reay over Helio Castroneves) and 2006 (0.0635 of a second Sam Hornish Jr. over Marco Andretti.).

It also marked only the third last-lap pass in Indy 500 history — all within the past 17 years (Hornish over Andretti in 2006; Wheldon over J.R. Hildebrand in 2011).

Ericsson’s runner-up finish was the ninth time the defending Indy 500 finished second the next year (most recently four-time winner Helio Castroneves in 2003).

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the 107th Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:


Click here for the official box score from the 200-lap race on a 2.5-mile oval in Indianapolis.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Indy 500 with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (17) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
2. (10) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 200, Running
3. (4) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 200, Running
4. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 200, Running
5. (7) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 200, Running
6. (6) Scott Dixon, Honda, 200, Running
7. (8) Takuma Sato, Honda, 200, Running
8. (16) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 200, Running
9. (21) Colton Herta, Honda, 200, Running
10. (2) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 200, Running
11. (18) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Chevrolet, 200, Running
12. (27) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 200, Running
13. (25) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 200, Running
14. (14) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 200, Running
15. (20) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 200, Running
16. (9) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 200, Running
17. (24) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running
18. (32) Jack Harvey, Honda, 199, Running
19. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 198, Running
20. (13) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 197, Contact
21. (11) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 196, Contact
22. (33) Graham Rahal, Chevrolet, 195, Running
23. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 195, Running
24. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 192, Contact
25. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 192, Contact
26. (26) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 192, Contact
27. (3) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 183, Contact
28. (15) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 183, Contact
29. (23) David Malukas, Honda, 160, Contact
30. (19) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 149, Contact
31. (31) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 90, Contact
32. (28) RC Enerson, Chevrolet, 75, Mechanical
33. (29) Katherine Legge, Honda, 41, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 168.193 mph; Time of Race: 2:58:21.9611; Margin of victory: 0.0974 of a second; Cautions: 5 for 27 laps; Lead changes: 52 among 14 drivers. Lap leaders: Palou 1-2; VeeKay 3; Palou 4-9; VeeKay 10-14; Palou 15-22; VeeKay 23-27; Palou 28-29; VeeKay 30-31; Rosenqvist 32; Rossi 33-34; Palou 35-39; VeeKay 40-47; Palou 48-60; VeeKay 61-63; Rosenqvist 64-65; O’Ward 66; Power 67; Herta 68; Rosenqvist 69; O’Ward 70-78; Rosenqvist 79-81; O’Ward 82-89; Rosenqvist 90-94; Ilott 95-99; Rosenqvist 100-101; O’Ward 102; Rosenqvist 103-107; O’Ward 108-109; Rosenqvist 110-113; O’Ward 114-115; Rosenqvist 116-119; O’Ward 120-122; Rosenqvist 123-124; O’Ward 125-128; Rosenqvist 129-131; Ferrucci 132; Ericsson 133-134; Castroneves 135; Rosenqvist 136; Ericsson 137-156; Newgarden 157; Ericsson 158; Ferrucci 159-168; Ericsson 169-170; Rossi 171-172; Sato 173-174; O’Ward 175-179; Hunter-Reay 180-187;
O’Ward 188-191; Ericsson 192; Newgarden 193-195; Ericsson 196-199; Newgarden 200.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the GMR Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 219, Ericsson 199, O’Ward 185, Newgarden 182, Dixon 162, McLaughlin 149, Rossi 145, Grosjean 139, Power 131, Herta 130.

Rest of the standings: Lundgaard 122, Kirkwood 113, Rosenqvist 113, Ilott 111, Ferrucci 96, VeeKay 96, Rahal 94, Malukas 84, Armstrong 77, Daly 73, Castroneves 69, Harvey 65, DeFrancesco 63, Canapino 61, Pagenaud 55, Pedersen 51, Robb 47, Sato 37, Carpenter 27, Hunter-Reay 20, Kanaan 18, Andretti 13, Enerson 5, Legge 5.

Next race: The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, which has moved from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown, will take place June 4 with coverage starting on Peacock at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.