Johnson hopes to join idol Mears as four-time winner at IMS Defending Brickyard 400 winner Jimmie Johnson and Indianapolis 500 legend Rick Mears visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, June 10 to trade stories about their respective triumphs at The Racing Capital of the World.
Johnson can join racing legends Mears, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Jeff Gordon and Michael Schumacher in the four-time IMS winner's club if he wins the Brickyard 400 on July 25.
"I think it would be great if he could win a fourth one," Mears said of Johnson. "It's a heck of an accomplishment to win four of anything, anywhere, anytime. The more, the merrier."
Four-time "500" winner Mears took to the track with Johnson, a three-time Brickyard 400 champion, riding in the passenger seat of a Chevrolet Corvette for several laps around the famed 2.5-mile oval. After driving around the track, Mears and Johnson sat down for a 30-minute question-and-answer session streamed live on www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com during which they answered questions submitted by fans via Twitter.
Johnson admitted during the chat that he idolized Mears when growing up in Southern California.
"It was fun to ride around the track and bench race a little bit," Johnson said. "To have that opportunity here today was really cool. Going around the track riding with him, although it wasn't at speed in a race car, was still a pretty special moment."
Said Mears: "We started out talking about lines around the track. Then we got to bench racing about different types of racing and our old racing."
Both legends spent significant time early in their careers off-road racing in their native California before switching from dirt to asphalt, with Mears moving to Indy cars and Johnson stock cars.