A slew of NASCAR drivers got their season off to a crazy start on Feb. 15 as the Can Am Duels at Daytona International Speedway kicked off with a crash that will have past Champion Jimmie Johnson driving a backup car in the Daytona 500 on Sunday.
“On Lap 8 @JimmieJohnson ran over debris in Turns three and four that caused a flat and ended our night,” Jimmie’s team tweeted shortly after the accident, which sent Jimmie to the infield care center as a precaution. “We will start from the back on Sunday.”
It definitely wasn’t a good way for Jimmie to start his season, especially as the 42-year-old driver has said he has no plans to leave the sport anytime soon. “For me, I feel like sure, I could stop,” Jimmie said in a recent interview with Motorsport.com. “I’ve accomplished so much. But what else am I going to do? I’d have to find something else to race. I’m a racer at heart and I want to compete. I feel like I can accomplish more in the sport and win more races and compete for more championships and win more championships. So I don’t feel like it’s time yet. At some point that fire will go out—and I need to be aware of that. But right now it’s as intense as ever.”
Indeed, intense racing is what we will be sure be seeing come Feb. 18, as NASCAR’s premier drivers such as Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and yes, Jimmie Johnson will take that green flag in the Daytona 500.
After a disappointing 2017 season, Jimmie is ready to get this season going on the right foot.
“I left there pissed off,” he said of last season in the Motorsport interview. “It sucked. I knew after we got eliminated from the Round of 8, our championship hopes were closed. But to re-live the highlight reels and all of that it was like, ‘Damn, I want to be that guy. I want to go back to being that guy.’ So, that was a huge shot of adrenaline in the arm to get back to work. I started wearing [team owner] Rick [Hendrick] out on the phone the next morning, ‘What do we need to do? Where do we need to start?’”