2024-06-13 14:05:10
“You can’t slip and slide this car” – Daily Sporting News
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“You can’t slip and slide this car”

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“You can’t slip and slide this car”

The new car demands you drive it differently than previous generations, which has been a difficult transition for Johnson, who has been involved in a crash in every race he’s attempted with the Next Gen car.

“I found last year with the limited races that I’ve run is really, really different,” said Johnson, who is driving the No. 84 Legacy Motor Club Toyota this weekend.

“I think the first 80 percent is normal, maybe 90 percent. But that last little bit and where you run the car – I spent a lifetime running a car off the right rear. This car you just cannot do that. From the aero platform, the tire and I believe the side wall stiffness of the tire, you can’t slip and slide this car around like I like to do. It got me in Charlotte – the last mile-and-a-half I was on in Charlotte – it got out front under me and I crashed.

“I kept telling myself coming into this weekend that I need to drive off the right front, and you drive through the right front and not my typical style of driving on or through the right rear tire,” explained Johnson. This track is really treacherous.”

Johnson, who is now the co-owner of LMC, is making his fifth Cup start with the Next Gen car this weekend. Unfortunately, he already found out how treacherous Texas Motor Speedway can be, crashing in practice. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch lost traction and wrecked in a similar way. 

“Of course, I want to run as well as I can,” said Johnson. “I want to run all the laps. I want to help our company grow and really work through this first quarter, first half of the season with our change to Toyota. There is just a lot of new things that we trying to get our arms around. We’ve had some speed at times, but consistently having the speed is a big objective for us right now, and I hope that my participation this weekend helps us take a step in the right direction.”

2024 marks the first time Johnson has ever driven anything other than a Chevrolet in the Cup Series, joining forces with Toyota in hopes of gaining more support for LMC.

Jimmie Johnson, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, Carvana Toyota Camry, Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, McDonald's Toyota Camry, Josh Berry, Stewart Haas Racing, SunnyD Ford Mustang

Jimmie Johnson, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, Carvana Toyota Camry, Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, McDonald’s Toyota Camry, Josh Berry, Stewart Haas Racing, SunnyD Ford Mustang

Photo by: Danny Hansen / NKP / Motorsport Images

“I don’t have a lot of time behind the wheel, but I’ve really enjoyed the relationship with everyone from TRD and Toyota Motor North America,” he said of the relationship. “They race in a different way. They have very meaningful relationships and a true definition of a partnership. I’ve really enjoyed the last two years of getting to know them and the last six or seven months of really working hand-in-hand, since the end of last season. I think we have a really bright future together. I’m excited to work with them.”

Johnson’s best finish in the Next Gen era came in February’s Daytona 500, finishing 28th with a damaged car. He has more Cup wins than any other driver at Texas Motor Speedway, winning seven races between 2007 and 2017. He will start 37th in his 691st career NASCAR Cup Series start on Sunday.

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