INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Jimmie Johnson and Romain Grosjean took to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval for the first time in IndyCars on Wednesday.
The veteran drivers technically passed their Indianapolis 500 rookie orientation despite the rain-shortened day. Grosjean signed a full-time ride with Andretti Autosport for the upcoming season, so this was the necessary step before he will make his debut at the 106th running of the race.
As for 7-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Johnson’s appearance next May is not a done deal, but his post-practice thoughts have the IndyCar series buzzing.
“Being here today is definitely a step closer,” Johnson said. “The first step was Texas, now this step here today. I honestly wish that I could have run more laps and really got into the faster, you know, phase of things to feel the car on the edge because I’m still trying to understand what it’s like living on the edge in one of these cars and that’s what this journey has been.”
Johnson ran oval tests at Texas Motor Speedway in August with Chip Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon. While his 2-year deal with CGR only included road and street courses, there may be an exception made for the month of May.
“I’m absolutely closer, the closest I’ve ever been to running the Indy 500,” Johnson said. “I still have a lot to work through — family, sponsors, team — but definitely a step closer.”