Jimmie Johnson is set to enter his second season in NTT INDYCAR SERIES, this time as a full-time driver for Chip Ganassi Racing.
However, the former Hendrick Motorsports driver and seven-time Cup champion hasn’t won many plaudits for his showing in his first season. He finished the season with no top-15 finishes and no qualifying performance in the top half of the field.
Because of these statistics, many are quick to point out if Johnson has it to cut it to the IndyCar Level as he enters the second season as a full-time driver.
However, the 46 year is old enough to not give too much thought to such criticism.
“It seems many people say I’ve lost it and not cut out to drive a race car anymore,” he said. “Thankfully, I’m thick-skinned (to criticism) after years of experience, and I don’t care, honestly.
“I joke with friends that my ‘give-a-sh*t’ meter broke. (Competing in INDYCAR) isn’t about anyone else but myself. What I’m doing now, I feel so free. It’s odd because it’s very much like my teenage years where I was just racing because I wanted to race. I’m doing it my way and doing what the heck I want to do.”
Johnson made a very bold move leaving the comfort of the Cup Series to learn a new racing discipline. Nobody expected Johnson to light the series on fire anyway. As for Johnson, it is about fulfilling his dream and being competitive every time he is in action.
“That’s what I’m trying to convey,” he said. “I’m (in INDYCAR) because I want to be here, because (racing) is what I love to do. Of course, I want to be competitive; of course, I want to do well. But we’ll see what happens.
“This is a huge challenge, (and) I didn’t realize how different it is to my lifetime in NASCAR. But I’m here for the purest of reasons and loving every minute of it.”
Johnson has faced criticism since the day he joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2002. And the recent criticism would not stop him from giving everything on the race track, whether he wins or not.