Johnson picks up Nationwide race
Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will drive for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Johnson will drive the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet in the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200. It’s Johnson’s first foray into the Nationwide ranks since finishing second in a JR Motorsports car at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 13, 2011.
Johnson is a four-time winner at Phoenix in the Sprint Cup Series, where he drives for Hendrick Motorsports as a teammate to JR Motorports co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“I appreciate Junior letting me run one of his cars,” Johnson said in a news release. “My goal is to make my team owner so proud that, perhaps, he’ll invite me back more often than once every two years.
“In all seriousness, this is a great opportunity for me to get more familiar with the new configuration at PIR. Not only do we race there twice in Cup, but both races are in crucial spots on the schedule for Team Lowe’s Racing. I appreciate JR Motorsports and Great Clips giving me this opportunity, and I hope to not disappoint my team owner.”
Johnson has competed in 92 Nationwide Series races, 64 of which came during his full-time campaigns in 2000 and 2001. He has one victory (Chicagoland Speedway on July 14, 2001), 24 top 10s and two pole positions.
Great Clips announced earlier this month a 28-race sponsorship with JR Motorsports for the 2013 season. The Phoenix race was originally to have driver Brad Sweet, who will now compete in the June 15 race at Michigan International Speedway to add one to the sponsor’s package.