January 23, 2013; Concord, NC; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) addresses the media during the 2013 Sprint Media Tour at Hendrick Motor Sports. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmie Johnson Returning to the Nationwide Series

Jimmie Johnson first made a name for himself when he drove straight into a tire barrier against the turn one walls of Watkins Glen. It wasn’t his five consecutive Sprint Cup Championships that got his name around. It certainly didn’t hurt, as it only turned him into a sports-wide superstar.

Ironically enough, Johnson’s last start in the Nationwide Series was at Watkins Glen in 2011 where he grabbed a top-5 finish.

Johnson will make his first start in the Nationwide Series in two years in just a few weeks at Phoenix International Raceway. He will be behind the wheel of JR Motorsports’ #5 Great Clips entry.

“I appreciate Junior letting me run one of his cars,” Johnson said in a released statement.  “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.”

Great Clips signed a deal to sponsor the car in 28 races this season, but will now add a 29th race to their package.

Brad Sweet was originally scheduled to be behind the wheel of the car in Phoenix, but will now drive the 29th race at Michigan in June. He will split the other 27 races with Kasey Kahne just as the duo did at Turner Motorsports last season.

Tags: Jimmie Johnson JR Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide Series

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