There is nothing I love more in the world of motorsport than a legendary racing driver in one series leaving to pursue whatever kinds of racing they find fun. Jimmie Johnson has spent more than twenty years becoming one of the greatest NASCAR drivers of all time, and now that he’s closed that chapter of his life, he’s just doing whatever sounds fun. And he’s earned enough of a name that sponsors and teams will allow him the freedom to do them. IndyCar? Yeah, let’s join one of the best teams on the grid for a partial season. Daytona 24 in a great car with a great team and a stacked lineup? Sure, why not?
The Action Express team will field a second Cadillac DPi-V.R prototype with Ally sponsorship for Jimmie Johnson and a trio of drivers you just might have heard of. Sharing a seat with Johnson is defending FIA WEC world champion and two-time defending Daytona 24 winner Kamui Kobayashi, former ALMS LMP2, and IndyCar champion and Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud, and former DTM champion, twice Le Mans 24 winner, and once Daytona 24 winner, Mike Rockenfeller. It’s hard to think of a lineup more prepared for a Daytona 24 win than that. Even the Action Express team has won at Daytona twice before, in 2011 and 2018.
Johnson himself has participated in the Daytona 24 race seven times in the past, most recently in 2011. While he has never been on the race-winning team, he has finished second twice in 2005 and 2008. Of course, those prior runs were all in the old Daytona Prototype style race cars, which were much more similar to a NASCAR stock car than the all-carbon DPi he’ll be running in January.
It’ll be interesting to see how this team finishes. With a legendary lineup like this, the car pretty much has to be in contention for the win, right? As always, time will tell.