MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 31, 2013) – Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will compete in the March 2 Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway for JR Motorsports, general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller announced today.
Johnson will drive the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet in the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 (4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2). This will mark Johnson’s first Nationwide Series race since finishing second in a JR Motorsports car at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 13, 2011. Johnson is a four-time winner at Phoenix in the Sprint Cup Series, where he drives the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.
“I appreciate Junior letting me run one of his cars,” said Johnson of his Hendrick Motorsports teammate and JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. “My goal is to make my team owner so proud that, perhaps, he’ll invite me back more often than once every two years.
“In all seriousness, this is a great opportunity for me to get more familiar with the new configuration at PIR. Not only do we race there twice in Cup, but both races are in crucial spots on the schedule for Team Lowe’s Racing. I appreciate JR Motorsports and Great Clips giving me this opportunity, and I hope to not disappoint my team owner.”
Johnson has competed in 92 Nationwide Series races, 64 of which came during his full-time campaigns in 2000 and 2001. He has one victory (Chicagoland Speedway on July 14, 2001), 24 top-10s and two pole awards.
Great Clips, the world’s largest hair salon brand, announced earlier this month its partnership with JR Motorsports by way of a 28-race sponsorship agreement. The Phoenix event on March 2 was part of the original 28-race package, but it was to be driven by Brad Sweet. With Johnson now filling the seat at Phoenix, Sweet has been added to the June 15 event at Michigan International Speedway, bringing the Great Clips package to 29 races. Kasey Kahne and Sweet will share most of the workload in the No. 5 Chevrolet. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a Great Clips-sponsored No. 88 Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway in the Aaron’s 312 on May 4.