NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson withdraws from Chicago race

Jimmie Johnson, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

Jimmie Johnson had been planning to compete in the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Chicago Street Course, but his entry has been withdrawn.

Due to a family tragedy, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will not be competing in this coming Sunday afternoon’s Grant Park 220, the inaugural race at the new Chicago Street Course.

Police in Muskogee, Oklahoma said Tuesday that 68-year-old Terry Janway, 69-year-old Jack Janway, and their 11-year-old grandson, Dalton Janway, had been shot and killed Monday night.

Police believe that it could have been a murder-suicide, with Terry suspected to have shot and killed her husband and her grandson. Chandra Janway, the wife of Jimmie Johnson, is the daughter of Terry and Jack.

As a result, Johnson and his Legacy Motor Club team have made the obvious decision to withdraw the No. 84 Chevrolet from Sunday’s 100-lap race around the 12-turn, 2.2-mile (3.541-kilometer) temporary street circuit in Chicago, Illinois.

The team do not plan on making any further statements and noted the fact that Johnson and his family have asked for privacy during this time.

Jimmie Johnson returned to NASCAR this year after spending the last two seasons in IndyCar.

The 47-year-old El Cajon, California native had initially retired from Cup Series competition at the end of the 2020 season. He returned in 2023 as a part-time driver and a team co-owner, as it was his arrival to the team which led them to rebrand as Legacy Motor Club from Petty GMS Motorsports. The team’s two full-time drivers are Erik Jones and rookie Noah Gragson.

Johnson, who had only ever competed for Hendrick Motorsports before this year, has made just three starts this season and has yet to finish a race. He competed at Daytona International Speedway in February, Circuit of the Americas in March, and Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

With Johnson withdrawing from the event, there is just one non-chartered car on the entry list, that being the No. 91 Trackhouse Racing Team Chevrolet. Shane van Gisbergen is set to make his Cup Series debut behind the wheel of the PROJECT91 entry. There are now 37 cars expected to compete in the race.

Beyond the Chicago race, which is the 18th race on the 36-race schedule, Johnson does not currently have anything else lined up on his Cup Series schedule for the 2023 season.

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The Grant Park 220 is set to be broadcast live on NBC from the Chicago Street Course starting at 5:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, July 2. Begin a free trial of FuboTV and don’t miss it.