Jimmie Johnson doesn’t usually care to run races in NASCAR‘s Nationwide Series, the second tier of NASCAR’sthree top series. The main reason is because he just simply isn’t good at it.
In 92 starts within Nationwide Series competition, Johnson has only been able to early one win and 24 top-10 finishes. The lack of success is beyond stunning considering that he’s a five-time champion with Hendrick Motorsports, which has one of the strongest engine programs in the sport.
Johnson’s last start in the Nationwide Series came a year and a half ago at Watkins Glen, one of the few tracks which he hasn’t been able to win at in the Sprint Cup Series and the site of his horrific wreck when he was a full-time driver in what was the Busch Series for William Herzog. Since 2008, in the few races which Johnson has entered, he’s driven for his Sprint Cup Series teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt Jr. owns JR Motorsports which will be fielding two full-time Nationwide Series teams during the 2013 season. It was announced that Johnson and JR Motorsports will reunite once again in 2013. This time, Johnson will step behind the wheel of the No. 5 Chevrolet with Great Clips as the sponsor. Johnson will compete at the Phoenix International Raceway on March 2. The announcement will add an extra race to Great Clips’ schedule which should help the team run a full season.
Originally, JR Motorsports was going to run just 28 races in the No. 5 car with Great Clips sponsoring each race with Brad Sweet and his protege Kasey Kahne splitting the seat time. Now, Johnson will make his return to Nationwide Series competition where he looks to enter victory lane for the first time since 2001 at a racetrack that he’s had success at in the past.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.