Blog Entry

Jimmie Johnson wants Indy Cars off ovals

Posted on: October 17, 2011 4:33 pm
By Pete Pistone

Whether or not Jimmie Johnson’s crash Saturday night in Charlotte ultimately ends his quest for a sixth straight championship remains to be seen. 

What we thankfully didn’t have to wait for was Johnson climbing from his battered car more or less uninjured after the frightening accident. 

Johnson was moving around pretty well during Monday’s fuel injection test at Charlotte Motor Speedway and spent some time addressing the safety of NASCAR as well as the rest of the racing world in light of the Indy Car Series tragedy in Las Vegas that took the life of Dan Wheldon. 

After watching the horrific accident unfold, Johnson’s take away is the current Indy Car configuration simply does not belong on high speed oval tracks like LVMS no matter the safety initiatives.

"I wouldn't run them on ovals," Johnson said bluntly. “Why do we run restrictor plates? It’s so the cars stay on the ground. It doesn’t matter the type of race car, if it’s off the ground, you cannot control it in an accident. [Indy] cars are going so fast and get airborne so frequently on ovals that I wouldn’t run them on ovals. There is just no need to.” 

Johnson believes Indy Cars have a place in the racing landscape but that series officials should focus on a different venue rather than the high-speed oval. 

Although at fifteen it may have been one of the biggest accidents in series history in terms of car count, it wasn’t the first time Indy cars have become airborne at tracks like Las Vegas. 

“Those cars are fantastic for street circuits and road courses,” Johnson said. “The ovals at those speeds, you can’t control the vehicle when it’s off the ground. There’s very little crumple zone around the driver, and obviously it’s an open cockpit and then you add open wheels. You’re just creating situations to get the car off the ground at a high rate of speed.” 

It is Johnson’s hope that some good comes out of the melee and Wheldon’s death. 

"I hate, hate, hate that this tragedy took place,” he said. “But hopefully they can learn from it and make those cars safer on ovals somehow. I don't know how they can really do it. Myself, I have a lot of friends that race in that series, and I'd just rather see them on street circuits and road courses – no more ovals."

Johnson by no means believes NASCAR racing is completely safe or free of risking injury or even death. But his trip into the Charlotte wall was a reminder of just how far the safety initiatives inside stock car racing have come.

“We know what the risks are and the risk factor to driving an open-wheel car is multiplied by ten," Johnson said. "Yes, that threat exists. But I feel like NASCAR has worked hard to keep speeds down, we have devices on the vehicles to keep them on the ground. We don't have those types of crashes. 

"I'm not saying the perfect storm couldn't take place and we couldn't get a couple off the ground. ... But I just don't see our cars having the same issue. I don't see the chance anywhere in the ballpark as those open-wheel cars."

More NASCAR coverage
Category: Auto Racing

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: October 19, 2011 6:15 am

Jimmie Johnson wants Indy Cars off ovals

Stoney29or 30 Thanks for proving my point!!

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: October 18, 2011 8:11 pm

Jimmie Johnson wants Indy Cars off ovals

Dork? did we have to go there?

Since: Jan 16, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2011 8:08 pm

Jimmie Johnson wants Indy Cars off ovals

Johnson has no idea what he is talking about.

I suspect he knows a hell of a lot more than some dork on a cbs message board who calls himself bukeyezane. Btw, he'll forget more about racing this week than you'll know in your lifetime.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: October 18, 2011 8:02 pm

Jimmie Johnson wants Indy Cars off ovals

okelou...I haven't heard one Indycar Driver write or say Indy cars should just race on road courses,I may have missed it but JJ is the only one I've heard say that.It's like John Force telling NASCAR how to run their sport.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:57 pm

Jimmie Johnson wants Indy Cars off ovals

When I say "Sister" it is meant that they are both open wheel /cockpit type race cars,and you are  right it is the second most watched sport in Europe,I happen to live in the USA and watch American football,all sorts of American racing,baseball among other sports here and also love Apple pie.Wink

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:54 pm

Jimmie Johnson wants Indy Cars off ovals

Jimmie Johnson knows a hell of a lot more about racing than you do, even if he hasn't been in an Indy car. I understand your point, but you and I are just fans. I am sure Jimmie has a lot of friends in the Indy circuit that have told him about what  goes on.

Since: Oct 18, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:42 pm

Jimmie Johnson wants Indy Cars off ovals

I totally agree and believe INDY cars are better suited for road courses and not ovals.  BUT, Formula 1 is NOT the sister of INDY Car!!!  Formula 1 is the 2nd most watched sporting event in the world, only 2nd to soccer and should not even be mentioned in the same category as INDY Car or NASCAR.  As you stated, F1 cars are the most technologically advanced purpose built race vehicles in the world and the series has the best drivers in the world.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: October 18, 2011 6:59 pm

Jimmie Johnson wants Indy Cars off ovals

I also wanted to add that formula One(the sister of (Indycar) races on nothing but road courses as we all know and from time to time some Drver is badly hurt or killed and F-1 cars are the safest most high tech cars in the world(ask Tony Stewart what he thinks of them) with the best drivers behind the wheel,stick that feather in your hat JJ.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: October 18, 2011 6:44 pm

Jimmie Johnson wants Indy Cars off ovals

What irks me about Johnson and his remarks is the man has never done a lap racing Indy cars so his words are meaningless,not to mention the timing is off.Dan Wheldon was having fun in the twelve laps he raced Sunday,if you listened to his radio he even said he believed he could win.I think maybe before we start pointing fingers and making statements we should let Dan Wheldon have a nice farewell,give the Man some respect and at least wait until after his funeral before we start all the Bull.Johnson should keep his nose in NASCAR where it belongs and leave Indycar to their Drivers and crews etc.,also he needs to do his homework,the new Indycar to be raced next season has made some changes to help it stay on the ground and not get airborne,Johnson has no idea what he is talking about. 

Since: Apr 11, 2007
Posted on: October 18, 2011 5:25 pm

Jimmie Johnson wants Indy Cars off ovals

Dario Franchetti wants nascar to stop running restrictor plate races.  Both opinions are equally useless...

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or