Jimmie Johnson on Racing in Detroit and on Ovals in IndyCar

Jimmie Johnson, the Ganassi Racing No 48 American Legion Driver, talked with the media about his rookie run at Detroit and the possibility of running Gateway later this season.

‘It is certainly tough.  A much different experience than I had at St Pete.  The bumps are one aspect.  I was certainly caught out with how little grip there is through the turns.  We also had a brake bias issue yesterday that we couldn’t work out of the car until it came back to the trucks.  I am hopeful that is going to bring a lot more confidence for me, allow me to get into the corners with the right speed and help generate more downforce and grip  in the car.”

‘It is a fun track.  I am blown away how technical and challenging the track is.  I know my learning curve is pretty steep here.  Street courses are going to the be toughest for me to get used to.  This has been the most technical track I have ever been on.   The grip is just fractions of an inch off the walls.  I do not have a great sense of sliding these cars yet.   And to slide it out to the wall within  an inch is something I do not have yet.  I am thinking 6 inches and that 6 inches in the turns add up to a slower lap.”

Johnson was asked about the addition of Scott Pruett.  “I am excited to have Scott on board.  He is one of a few guys that has driven sports cars, IndyCar and NASCAR.  So there is a lot of synergy and a lot of shared stories and experiences.  Dario and I have had a great connection and I have been able to lean on him.  We are trying to put as many  people around me that I can learn from and Scott has been a great help.”

“Scott (Pruett) has been with us for 2 or 3 weeks now.  He came to  the Road America test briefly.  He was at my house in Charlotte for a few days.  Working through training and hand and eye coordination.  A bunch of little things to button up so I am ready for race time.   He will be on the radio with me during the races.”

When asked about running the oval at Gateway later this season, Johnson answered, “I was very proud to see my car at the  Indy 500.   Tony Kanaan and I have put this dream together for him to run my car on the ovals this season.”

‘This year, no oval racing for me.  The priority would be to get me eligible for the rookie orientation at Indy later this year, at the Firestone test.  Try and get me in the program to run more laps at the speedway.   The oval I am most interested in is the Indy 500.  So, in my head space, it is most logical to work in that direction and get laps on that track to help me find my comfort level with all this.”


Lucille Dust reporting live from Detroit