NASCAR: Is Jimmie Johnson competing at Fontana?

Jimmie Johnson, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Jimmie Johnson returned to the NASCAR Cup Series for the first time since 2020 in Sunday’s Daytona 500. But will he compete this weekend?

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson retired from Cup Series competition following the 2020 season and made the switch to IndyCar. He ran a part-time schedule for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021 and a full-time schedule for the team in 2022, but he opted not to return for the 2023 season.

Instead, he became both a part-time driver and part owner of the Petty GMS Motorsports Cup Series team, which has since been renamed Legacy Motor Club.

He made his first Cup Series start since the 2020 season finale at Phoenix Raceway this past Sunday in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

Not much has been confirmed about Jimmie Johnson’s 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

Johnson is set to compete in the inaugural race at the Chicago Street Course on Sunday, July 2. This is the only race that he has formally confirmed as a part of his schedule for the year, aside from the Daytona 500.

The 47-year-old El Cajon, California native has said that he has a list of 12 or 14 races that he would like to narrow down to between five and 10. Considering the fact that the Chicago Street Course race is still more than four months away, he will likely compete in at least one more race before then.

Will Johnson return for this Sunday afternoon’s Pala Casino 400 at Auto Club Speedway?

It would make sense for Johnson to make an appearance at the four-turn, 2.0-mile (3.219-kilometer) Fontana, California oval, as it is effectively his home track.

However, it is also one of the four tracks where he got a proper sendoff — and a particularly special one on the formation laps — in 2020. It was one of the four tracks which hosted a Cup Series race before the unexpected 10-week hiatus caused by COVID-19-related restrictions.

Johnson’s No. 84 Chevrolet is not on the entry list for this Sunday’s 200-lap race. In fact, no non-chartered entries are on the entry list for this event. Only the 36 chartered entries, including Legacy Motor Club’s No. 42 Chevrolet and No. 43 Chevrolet for Noah Gragson and Erik Jones, respectively, are set to compete.

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The Pala Casino 400 is set to be broadcast live on Fox from Auto Club Speedway beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, February 26. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!