3 races that Jimmie Johnson must run during the 2023 NASCAR season

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Gary A Vasquez – USA Today Sports

Jimmie Johnson will drive the No. 84 for Legacy Motor Club, formerly Petty GMS Motorsports, as owner/driver of 2023 NASCAR season And beyond. Johnson will compete in 2023 Daytona 500.

What other races does the seven-time champ have to run in the NASCAR Cup Series this year?

North Wilkesboro Speedway ticks off Jimmie Johnson’s roster

Jimmy Johnson / All-Star Race
May 19, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

North Wilkesboro Speedway will be NASCAR’s all-star race after moving away from Texas Motor Speedway as an event venue. This created a lot of excitement around the weekend as the sport returns for the first time since 1996.

The idea of ​​Johnson running an All-Star race is certainly on the table. However, the Legacy Motor Club co-owner may have to run in the Open Championship as the former champion must be a full-time driver to lock himself into the event.

Granted, if Johnson announced he wanted to run at North Wilkesboro Speedway, it wouldn’t be surprising to see NASCAR tweak the rules. It will all depend on how the sport views this situation.

The good news is that Johnson will be competitive either way. Whether or not NASCAR adjusts the rules, the 47-year-old can drive his way into the race itself.

It seems very likely that North Wilkesboro Speedway will be on Johnson’s schedule this year, and if it’s not an All-Star race, could he run a NASCAR Truck Series race with Kyle Busch Motorsports?

Related: Jimmie Johnson could drive for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2023

Chicago’s Historic Street Racetrack is run by Jimmy Johnson

Jimmie Johnson/Sonoma Victory
June 20, 2010; Sonoma, California, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson celebrates after winning the SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Mandatory credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson went to the NTT IndyCar Series for two years after retiring from racing full-time in NASCAR. During this time, Johnson competed in street and road courses during the 2021 season before going full-time in 2022.

Therefore, it is likely that the first street track in NASCAR history will be a great event for the seven-time champion. Johnson is much better at racing on these types of tracks than he was during his full-time stint in NASCAR.

The sport has only had two road courses for most of Johnson’s career, coming back victorious once at Sonoma Raceway in 2010. Johnson has never won at the other major NASCAR road course that was Watkins Glen International.

With the No. 84 driver running a five-race schedule including the Daytona 500, there are four slots available. The All-Star Race and the Chicago Street Course, which will add two slots, will be added.

Of the remaining races, there is one that stands out among the rest as Johnson can look to prove his endurance in the longest NASCAR race on the entire 2023 schedule.

Related: NASCAR’s Best Free Agent for the 2024 Season

Jimmie Johnson is looking for his fifth Coca-Cola 600 win

Jimmy Johnson / Coca-Cola 600
May 25, 2014; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) does a tire after winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest NASCAR race on the schedule at 100 miles as it remains the second longest event over the 500-mile distance. Johnson has had great success in this event before, so why not give it another try?

Johnson will be looking to compete in major races, and the Coca-Cola 600 certainly checks all the boxes. The seven-time champion has won the race four times, including three straight from 2003-2005.

Of the races on his list, the Coca-Cola 600 might be the easiest to get a spot on. The All-Star Race in North Wilkesboro will have an open field while the Chicago Street Course appears to have over 40 entries.

Unfortunately for racing fans, it looks like Johnson won’t be competing in “The Double” because he’s not currently riding in the Indianapolis 500. However, Kyle Larson, a driver for Johnson’s former organization, will Try it in 2024 with McLaren Racing.

While the Coca-Cola 600 will close out four of Johnson’s five races, what are the likely options for the final race? The Southern 500, Bristol Night Race, Dover Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, and Bristol Dirt all come to mind as possibilities.

There will be a lot of excitement when the Legacy Motor Club co-owner announces their agenda. No matter what is chosen, Johnson’s return to NASCAR is good for everyone.

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