Johnson and Legacy MC all benefitting from more seat time

Jimmie Johnson will run his third NASCAR Cup Series race in the last four weeks Sunday at Kansas Speedway in the No. 84 Legacy Motor Club Toyota.

The stretch is beneficial for Johnson behind the wheel as he adapts to the Next Gen car. It’s also beneficial for the organization he co-owns, as Johnson’s car, a third entry, is another data point to learn from.

“It’s really helped me inside the car, and I look forward to expanding on that this weekend and then coming back for the [Coke] 600 and a lot more mile-and-a-half tracks that I’ll run this year,” Johnson said of the AdventHealth 400. “I know it doesn’t show it now, but being in the car is going to help our competition department as well. This year has been more challenging for us in a lot more ways than we anticipated.


“But I do think we’re getting closer to a consistent pace that we hope to have week in and week out. There’s a real evolution taking place right now and I’m hopeful that we can show that on track this weekend as a group.”

Johnson finished 28th at Texas Motor Speedway (April 14) and 28th at Dover Motor Speedway (April 28). The seven-time Cup Series champion would love to have more practice to learn a car that he hasn’t driven full-time and for his team to be able to make sweeping changes if necessary. It has been a struggle for Johnson to be as competitive as the industry is used to seeing.

The Next Gen car takes a different driving style than what Johnson was able to do during his NASCAR Hall of Fame career while at Hendrick Motorsports. He’s learned this car needs more steering input, has a different ride height attitude, and has a completely different feel overall, and it’s been an adjustment for Johnson learning to drive off the right front instead of the right rear.

But the laps and repetition are helping.

Overall with Legacy Motor Club, Johnson elaborated that what has been “more challenging” than expected has been the transition to Toyota. The organization had a busy winter by switching from Chevrolet to Toyota and integrating into a new system.

“It’s tough to change manufacturers,” Johnson said. “We have amazing support from Toyota; an amazing collaboration and partnership working with them. But the offseason is short and we’re a small team. Our resources and people have had a lot more work items on the list than work hours in the day or week.

“We’re systematically working through it all and growing as a company. It’s tough to just compete with [Joe] Gibbs and Hendrick [Motorsports] and all these big teams. But we’re making steps forward, and I’m excited about the future.”

Entering the event at Talladega Superspeedway (April 21), the first race of the season’s second quarter, Erik Jones and John Hunter Nemechek were in the top 20 in points. Jones will miss his second consecutive Cup Series race Sunday after being injured at Talladega but remains eligible for the postseason with a waiver. Nemechek is 22nd in the standings.

Story originally appeared on Racer