Jimmie Johnson has struggled in his first season with the IndyCar Series. Last weekend’s race at Nashville was a microcosm of his season. Not only did he crash in qualifying, but Johnson was also disqualified from the race after his team worked on his car during a red flag.
No one would blame him if he returned to NASCAR and his comfort zone, where he won seven Cup Series titles. On Monday, Johnson replied to a bizarre question on Twitter and hinted that a possible return just might be in the cards.
Jimmie Johnson struggling in first IndyCar Series season
When Jimmie Johnson announced he was leaving NASCAR after the 2020 season, he had nothing left to prove after winning 83 races, and more impressively, seven Cup championships. He sought out a new challenge and found one this season driving part-time for Chip Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series, competing only on road and street courses.
It’s been more challenging than anyone expected. Johnson has struggled throughout the season. He earned the best finish of his debut season in the first race at Alabama, where he finished 19th. In the six other races, he hasn’t cracked the top 20.
Heading into this past weekend’s race at Nashville, Johnson was hopeful because it was the first-ever race through the streets of Music City, and the other drivers didn’t have an advantage. It didn’t matter.
Johnson crashed during qualifying on Saturday. It was a precursor of things to come. On Sunday, Johnson was involved in a multi-car pileup on lap 18, which brought out the red flag. Johnson’s team worked on his car during the stoppage, which is against the rules, and he was disqualified. He finished 26th.
Jimmie Johnson hints at return to NASCAR in a weird way
Not surprisingly, less than a year removed from NASCAR combined with his lack of success in IndyCar, there’s been speculation about Johnson’s future and possibly making a return to the series where he made his name.
On Monday night, just over 24 hours after the embarrassing finish at Nashville, Johnson added a little fuel to the fire by his response to a bizarre question on Twitter.
“Does anyone know if @JimmieJohnson has ever flipped a Cup car in his career? I don’t feel like he has?” one fan asked on Twitter.
“Not yet,” Johnson replied.
“It’s not that great,” Michael Waltrip hilariously responded.
Numerous other fans responded, suggesting Johnson’s remark was an indication he was considering a return to NASCAR, albeit in a very unusual way.
Admitted last month he’s thinking about a NASCAR return
While Johnson’s fans understandably wanted to spin his two-word reply on Twitter into the seven-time Cup champion possibly returning to NASCAR, the 45-year-old provided even more definitive evidence in a recent interview that didn’t require any mental gymnastics.
Johnson talked with reporters last month about a conversation he had with IndyCar Series driver Sage Karam, who is making his Xfinity Series debut at Indianapolis, when a reporter asked him about the potential of racing in NASCAR again.
“I feel like I’m very near the cap of races that I would want to run in a year,” Johnson admitted. “17 to 20 is that number that I’ve been aiming for. If a great opportunity came along, I’d definitely look hard at it and probably do it.”
In a matter of weeks, Johnson has twice hinted about racing again in NASCAR. It now seems like it’s not a matter of if, but when. His fans are hoping it becomes a reality. And they’d be just fine if it happens without the flipping part.