Jimmie Johnson is hoping that more drivers will hop between top-tier race series going forward as it can bring exposure to both drivers and the series.
Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso has brought more attention to the idea of drivers jumping series after he contested the 2017 Indy 500 and 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans in his quest to win the ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsports. Alonso, who has now taken a step back from Formula 1, also raced the 2018 and 2019 24 Hours of Daytona and has expressed his desire to race in other series and events as well.
“Hopefully we can get more crossover going, even between IndyCar and NASCAR or NASCAR and Formula 1 or whatever it might be,” Johnson said in a recent interview with Motorsport.com “I feel like we had a lot of heroes that we looked up to and those guys would race anything and everything.”
“And in the last 20 or 30 years, we’ve focused more on championships than we have marque events,” he added. “And I completely understand why, but it’s really nice to see people trying to move around and race other things.
Johnson did a ‘seat swap’ with Alonso last year, with Johnson wielding a 2013-spec McLaren F1 car and Alonso hopping behind the wheel of Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Alonso has not yet said if he would be interested in contesting any NASCAR events, but with the Spaniard more closely aligning himself with Chevrolet’s racing operations in recent months, it wouldn’t be too hard for him to line something up.
Johnson said he’d like to see a driver do the Memorial Day Double again, which entails competing in the Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte on the same day. The first driver to do the so-called ‘Double’ was John Andretti, but Tony Stewart’s attempt was the most successful, with ‘Smoke’ finishing sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte, completing all 1,100 race miles in the process.
“Hopefully we’ll have somebody trying the double again at Indy and Charlotte,” Johnson said “There is a lot of good that comes from those opportunities.”