Johnson returning to NASCAR roots with Richard Petty

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Nov. 15—It has become apparent seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson is not ready to close the book on his racing career.

Johnson recently announced he purchased a part ownership in Petty Enterprises for the future and his first race will be the Daytona 500 this coming February.

How many races Johnson will compete in during the NASCAR Cup season was not announced, but one has to anticipate a return to the Brickyard race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Johnson is among several drivers who have expressed an interest in running the 600-mile race at Charlotte and the Indianapolis 500 on the same day in May.

Kyle Busch has also expressed an interest in competing in the "double" along with Kyle Larson.

The "double" has been done several times, with Tony Stewart putting together the best day several years ago.

It's a challenge to make the logistics work to compete at Charlotte and Indianapolis on the same day but not impossible with the availability of private jets and helicopters at a driver's disposal.

Johnson's seven Cup championships equaled the mark set first by Richard Petty and duplicated by Dale Earnhardt.

Of course, records are made to be broken, but right now it's hard to see any other current group of drivers duplicating the feat.

Busch has two titles, and Joey Logano claimed his second championship this year.

For either driver to win five more titles with the Chase format is a long shot.

There was interesting news recently concerning the NASCAR street race this summer in Chicago.

A two-day general admission ticket is priced at $269, and as of this week no sponsor has stepped up to sponsor the weekend.

That seems like a steep price for two days of being able to watch only a portion of the street race at any one time, particularly when the race can be viewed at no cost on television.


There are currently 56 super late model teams entered for the 55th running of the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in December.

The Derby is the premier super late model race in the country and has been for several decades.

With the announcement of the planned national tour for super late models, it was a bit of a surprise the Snowball Derby didn't appear on the list of 10 races in the first year of competition.

It was announced the championship race will be the All American 400 at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in October.

Speculation is the national tour will open the inaugural season at Five Flags Speedway in the spring.

No additional information has been released concerning the schedule for 2023.

A concern is the reported purse of $100,000 to host a national super late model race next year — a cost that will eliminate several venues, unless the price is reduced for the first year.

Many fans and teams are awaiting the 2023 schedule before committing to running the entire season.

A national tour has been needed for many years since the American Speed Association and All-Pro Series went away, but it has to make financial sense for a track owner to gamble on having a successful event.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.