Jimmie Johnson is arguably the NASCAR Cup Series’ greatest driver, with seven championships to his credit. He retired after the 2020 season and focused on IndyCar, where he is currently in the middle of his second campaign.
This week during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, the 46-year-old didn’t just hint at a one-off return to Cup racing in 2023. He admitted he wasn’t sure about that. he would do next season, but also interestingly hinted that it could be “a bit of NASCAR.”
Jimmie Johnson admits 2023 NASCAR comeback is possible
When Jimmie Johnson last took off his helmet at Phoenix in 2020, he capped off one of, if not the greatest career in Cup history, amassing 83 wins and, most impressively, seven Cup championships. . However, his departure from NASCAR was not a departure from motorsport. Just a change of scenery.
He raced in IndyCar part-time in 2022 for Chip Ganassi Racing, driving only road and street courses, and only managed four top-20 finishes, with a 17th-place finish his best.
This season, Johnson has shown some improvement, including a pair of top 10 finishes in Texas and Iowa. This week he took to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and spoke about his second year with IndyCar, but was inevitably asked about a potential return to NASCAR, and in particular the Chicago street course, which kicks off next year.
“I wouldn’t rule it out,” Johnson said. “I have nothing in preparation, but I am certainly open to all ideas. And at this point in the season, everyone is kind of fighting for a position, working out the sponsorship details.
“And with all that said, I’m not sure what I have in store next year. So it could be more IndyCar. It could be a bit of NASCAR. I’m definitely open to that and had so much fun picking up my helmet and driving different vehicles. If this was the ROC (Race of Champions) event in Sweden, driving rally cars, it’s clear that this Carvana IndyCar was a blast to drive. I competed in the IMSA series and definitely had my eye on a return to NASCAR, but I haven’t had the right opportunity yet.
Jimmie Johnson hinted at returning to NASCAR last year
Interestingly, it was around this time a year ago that Johnson helped fuel rumors that he might be considering a return to NASCAR.
In late July, he spoke about his conversation with IndyCar Series driver Sage Karam, who was making his Xfinity Series debut in August, when a reporter asked about a potential return to NASCAR.
“I feel like I’m very close to the cap of races I want to run in a year,” Johnson admitted. “17 to 20 is the number I was aiming for. If a great opportunity presented itself, I would consider it carefully and probably do it.
Made a second hint back a few days later in an indirect Twitter response
On August 9, Johnson made another reference to a NASCAR comeback, but did it more indirectly when he answered a bizarre question on Twitter.
“Does anyone know if @JimmieJohnson has ever knocked over a Cup car in his career? I don’t think he did? asked a fan on Twitter.
“Not yet,” Johnson replied.
“It’s not that great,” replied Michael Waltrip.
As we all know by now, nothing came of either clue back. Now, a year later, Johnson is alluding to it again. But this time it’s different. It will be? Time will tell us.
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