What’s next for Jimmy Johnson?

Jimmy Johnson may have finally given up being a full-time race car driver, but he will still drive race cars.

“No, I can’t see a day when I’m not driving,” he told a small group of reporters before his book signing at Concord (North Carolina) Mills Mall on Friday afternoon. “I think at the pointed end of the bayonet in NASCAR and IndyCar, and even in the Division I sports car racing — I think those days are numbered.

“It’s very expensive and very competitive and on the IMSA side, there aren’t even seats available to ride the car, so that might correct on its own. But once I’ve done that, there are still plenty of cars I want to drive and race.”

Johnson announced late last month that he will no longer be a full-time competitor in 2023 after two seasons (2021-2022) in the NTT IndyCar series. His stint at the open wheel came after 19 full seasons in cars stocked at NASCAR’s top level.

Now the opportunities are endless for Johnson to race wherever and whenever he wants to start next year, and he plans to do just that. The offers have already started.

“My phone is ringing; I don’t think I have a full understanding of opportunity and the obligation that comes with it,” Johnson said. I’m still working hard on LeMans; I think this is one of the main pillars. They still haven’t released who that list is and believe me, I’m knocking on every door that only I can know and understand. The commitment to that is two weeks in France, and then there’s testing and sim work and everything involved. This is just one example.

“Obviously still working for the IndyCar side. I’m hoping for some NASCAR. My off-road friends called. I was offered a Mint 400 ride. I was offered a ride in Crandon. I was offered a Chili Bowl.”

Johnson is hopeful that sooner rather than later, he can start working out what he might do next year. But at the moment, it’s somewhat unspecified.

“I try very hard not to do what I did in ’22 and stick to two programs that take a lot of time,” Johnson said. “I really want to keep it in the 10-race window. …I look at it, and I had a great time at Goodwood, so there’s the Festival of Speed ​​and Revival. Now you’re up to seven more race weekends or race events to look at, so I just want to be smart.” In how busy I am at the end.”

Returning to NASCAR and driving the next generation car is very interesting to Johnson. The seven-time Cup Series champion stays in touch with the drivers and has heard about the car’s teething ache, but he’s also heard about the brake package and how shifting is back in play, which was fun for the drivers.

“The funny thing is that when they were developing the car, I didn’t want to do any more work,” Johnson said. “I’ve been called to drive a few times and said, ‘I’m retiring; I don’t drive this thing. Why would I want to drive it? Now I’m like, “Well…why didn’t I drive it?” It would have been great, and I had some understanding of how different it was, but I didn’t want to work anymore at the time. I wish I had accepted this offer.”

The good news for his fans is that if Johnson had the opportunity to run NASCAR races, he wouldn’t want to be one and he did. He wants a couple to start feeling good about things and hopefully have a good show.

“But managing two teams changes the dynamic of the teams that are likely to be interested in taking over,” he said. “It gets complicated quickly.”

Johnson would also be in a unique position to choose which races he wanted to run – Dover and Martinsville soon came to mind. He said Homestead is a good track.

Another thing to think about – whether and when he’s back in his trophy series – isn’t driving the number car he’s been doing for so many years. 48 is no longer Johnson’s number and will not be on his car at the start of the next Cup Series.

“Sure, it’s going to be a different number,” Johnson said amused. “My daughter asked me about that last night. She’s like, ‘Dad, if I went back to NASCAR, you wouldn’t be, right?’ I’m like, ‘No, I won’t.'”

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