Jimmie Johnson will race at the Indy Car Rev Group Grand Prix of Road America. And he has fond memories of his days when he lived in a small Pewaukee apartment, with primitive racing games that helped him train and become a 7-time NASCAR Cup champion.
"It would be a stretch to call it a simulator," Jimmie Johnson says. "It was whatever the current game at that time, Xbox game. And I was really crafty with a drill and some zip ties, and zip-tied the steering wheel to a plastic table. And I had like an office chair that I would roll up behind it, and sit there and run the Xbox NASCAR game and run laps. So it's what you do when you're 20 something, right?"
Johnson had a huge crash when starting out in NASCAR at Watkins Glen in 2000. Does he have any fears or concerns as an Indy Car rookie?
"That's one of the strengths of an Indy Car," Johnson says. "There's been a lot of different fearful thoughts running through my mind as I head down to a 2 marker at 200 miles an hour in an Indy Car and it stops. In a Cup car, they don't have braking markers starting early enough. You'd have to find some other physical reference around here to get the car stopped. They're just totally different animals. And that's really one of the fun experiences in these cars is scaring yourself every time you hit the brake pedal."
Lance Allan of TMJ4 Sports: "Your reaction was priceless, by the way on that. To get out of the car and have the presence of mind to put up your arms?"
"Yeah, I thought it was all over. I was pretty happy to be alive. Yeah," Johnson says with a laugh.
Johnson also loved his days driving an off-road truck in Crandon, and says things outside the track were more fun and turned out better than on track.