Johnson presently solely races on the street and road programs for Chip Ganassi Racing, with oval responsibility delegated to IndyCar veteran Tony Kanaan – who certified fifth on the Indianapolis 500 after making it into the Quick 9 with the third-fastest run.
Though seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Johnson has years of expertise racing on ovals in inventory automotive equipment, he elected to not run them in his maiden IndyCar season – however will conduct a take a look at at Homestead to “get snug” with them.
The California native says that he hopes there will likely be crossover in his data of ovals from his storied NASCAR profession, and has been gleaning data from two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya – who additionally raced in each sequence – and fellow IndyCar rookie Romain Grosjean, who will make his own oval debut at IndyCar’s Gateway round.
“I’m looking for my consolation with the ovals,” Johnson mentioned. “I feel [Grosjean] is in a similar place. We’ve been chatting over the 12 months about ovals and actually the entire expertise altogether.
“As I get increasingly snug with ovals – hopefully the take a look at when it occurs late August will go effectively – and I’ll proceed to work nearer to the Indy 500 and ovals basically.”
“I really feel like there’s some carryover [from NASCAR]; of all of the sorts of tracks we run on, there must be some crossover on ovals.
“I spent a while speaking with Juan Pablo [Montoya] and he felt like when he was in a position to return to IndyCar after his NASCAR expertise, that there was lots of data of driving approach he may carry over and he felt like he may have a leg up on the normal IndyCar drivers at that time.
“That’s the carrot hanging out in entrance of me. I’m working round behind the pack on road and street programs and I’m pondering, ‘Man, if I used to be on an oval, the place would I be?’ That’s the steadiness I’m combating with proper now, of danger versus reward.”
Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Picture by: Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images
Johnson defined that his reservations over racing on ovals had been right down to his personal issues over security, however he says that watching team-mate Alex Palou stroll away from a 220mph follow crash on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway “was a giant verify mark” in making certain his personal participation.
As well as, Johnson defined that a part of his Homestead take a look at was understanding the security of IndyCar’s Dallara chassis on an oval course, and prompt he will not know the way secure the automotive will likely be except he crashes for himself.
“Finally I am making an attempt to grasp the security stage of IndyCar on the ovals,” he mentioned. “That is actually been my worry, from being a fan and watching from afar and watching my buddies race on ovals.
“However after seeing a number of large crashes on the Brickyard and chatting with the drivers after, I am turning into rather more snug with the ovals and with the crash dynamics that happen.
“I am at some extent now the place in a humorous manner I am keen to go hit a wall; I am not going to know except I actually hammer a wall how a lot it hurts, the distinction between a Cup automotive and an IndyCar.
“Watching the Indy 500 this 12 months and seeing Alex’s large crash that he had in follow, he was positive: he walked away. That was a giant verify mark for me, like ‘OK, wall, automotive, that pace – that each one labored effectively.”