Jimmie Johnson will be taking part in the Race of Champions
The 7-time Nascar Cup Series Champion and current IndyCar driver will be partnering up with Travis Pastrana
Since leaving the world of Nascar at the end of 2020, Jimmie Johnson has undergone somewhat of a career change when it comes to what cars he's in. He competed part-time in the NTT IndyCar series this year with Chip Ganassi Racing, something which he is set to repeat in 2022 (this time including the legendary Indianapolis 500). He did this alongside a part time schedule in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship for Ally Cadillac Racing, which could also potentially extend into next year. Now it's been revealed that the 7-time Nascar Cup Series Champion will be returning to the Race of Champions, partnering up with Travis Pastrana for the off-road-focused competition in Sweden.
Johnson is no stranger to success at the Race of Champions. He previously won the Nations Cup at the 2002 running of the event, teaming alongside fellow Nascar luminary Jeff Gordon. "Gran Canaria was dirt, and I don't think the other guys knew how much dirt racing Jeff and I had in our backgrounds. I don't think many expected me to run well or even knew who I was for that matter," Johnson said to Autosport about his experience at the Race of Champions back then. "To win the ROC Nations’ Cup, was something really unique. The only event where I represented my country. I've been able to accomplish a lot in my career, but that's the only experience I've had like that."
"I’m really looking forward to returning to ROC and competing with Travis," Johnson continued. "He’s a tremendous talent and we have such fun competing together. Hopefully we can go have some fun and success on the snow and ice."
Johnson's upcoming teammate Pastrana also had some good words to say about the Nascar legend's participation in the Race of Champions. "This is exactly what I had been hoping for," he said. "Jimmie and I had some bad luck at the 2006 and 2007 Nations’ Cup, but I think this type of track will be perfect for us."
"The short days, the brutal cold and the changing conditions will make Sweden really well suited for all-round talents like Jimmie," said Fredrik Johnsson, the president of the Race of Champions. "He does not have much experience with four-wheel drive, but he is very skilled off-road and at high speeds, so I'm sure he'll adjust very quickly just like he did in 2002."
"Drivers come to ROC because it offers a special experience and innovative challenges that they would not find in their normal racing seasons," Johnsson continued. "ROC has had a good run in big stadiums all over the world, but it will be really good to get back to natural terrain."
The 2022 Race of Champions will be held at the resort of Pite Havsbad, Sweden, on 5-6 February. Johnson and Pastrana will be up against some serious competition, including 2-time Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen, Formula 1 race winner Valtteri Bottas, endurance racing legend Tom Kristensen, 9-time World Rally Champion Sebastian Loeb, 3-time World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristofferson, touring car legend Mattias Ekstrom and the father and son duo of Petter and Oliver Solberg. All of the vehicles used in the competition will either be electric or run on sustainable fuels.