Jimmie Johnson didn’t compete at Sonoma Raceway, despite competing in the first road course race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season and planning to compete in the upcoming street course race.
Johnson initially retired from Cup Series competition after the 2020 season, but he decided to return as not only a part-time driver but a team co-owner.
He is the part-time driver of the No. 84 Chevrolet for Legacy Motor Club, the team formerly known as Petty GMS Motorsports (combination of Richard Petty Motorsports and GMS Motorsports) before he joined as a third co-owner ahead of the 2023 season.
Johnson made his first start of the year in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. He also competed at Circuit of the Americas, where he had never previously competed in a Cup Series race. The track only began hosting Cup Series races in 2021.
A while back, the 47-year-old El Cajon, California native announced that he would also be competing in the inaugural race at the new Chicago Street Course on Sunday, July 2.
This race is the third of six road or street course races on the 2023 schedule, and provided everything goes according to plan, Johnson will have competed in two of the season’s first three road or street course races one it concludes.
But why didn’t Jimmie Johnson compete in the second road course race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season at Sonoma Raceway this past weekend?
Instead of driving the No. 84 Chevrolet at Sonoma Raceway, Johnson was in Le Mans, France, competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time.
Johnson competed in this 24-hour event at Circuit de la Sarthe for NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports, his former Cup Series team. He was one of three drivers of the Garage 56 entry, sharing the ride with Jenson Button and Mike Rockenfeller.
But even had the 24 Hours of Le Mans not been scheduled for this particular weekend, there is no guarantee that Johnson would have competed at Sonoma Raceway.
While Johnson did compete in the first road course race of the season and he does plan to compete in the upcoming street course race, he hasn’t confirmed any races other than these.
His schedule doesn’t necessarily include all of the remaining road or street course races. In fact, he doesn’t currently have any starts lined up beyond the inaugural race on the streets of Chicago, Illinois at all.
Plus, unlike Circuit of the Americas and the Chicago Street Course, Sonoma Raceway is a track at which Johnson has competed before, and on quite a few occasions.
Of the remaining three road course races on this year’s schedule, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course is the only one at which Johnson has not competed in the Cup Series, though he did make four IndyCar starts there in 2021 and 2022.
He has made multiple Cup Series starts at both Watkins Glen International and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Aside from Daytona International Speedway and Circuit of the Americas, Charlotte Motor Speedway is the only other track at which Johnson has competed so far this year. Unfortunately for him, he has not yet finished a race in 2023.