Jimmie Johnson Says Indy 500 Window “Closed” Blames Lack of Head Protection, I Say Leave It Alone

Leeds, Ala – How much did the Fernando Alonso move push the needle in motorsports with his Indy 500 announcement? Well, NASCAR drivers are talking about the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 5 1/2-hours away from the IndyCar race this weekend. On Friday morning, Kurt Busch said that Marco Andretti should try to run a Cup race, most notably at Daytona due to his love of the draft. Then, in his media availability after, seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson talked about the Indy 500 and said that the window has “closed” for his chance on running it.

“My window has closed,” Johnson told NASCAR reporters at the Bristol Motor Speedway during his weekly Friday morning media availability. He cited his family and a lack of head protection in IndyCar as reasons why. He also said he would have liked to see a closed cockpit to even think about trying it.

LONG POND, PA – JUNE 06: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevrolet, left, talks with crew chief Chad Knaus in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Axalta ‘We Paint Winners’ 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 6, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Without head protection, discussions with his wife has led to him at one point seriously considering it, to now having that window shut. 

For me, I’m hoping this doesn’t spark an outrage that IndyCar needs to put overhead protection on their cars now. It all really started in 2015 when Justin Wilson was tragically killed by a piece of debris hitting his helmet at Pocono, and it’s stayed around really ever since. With a new car coming in 2018, there’s talks about adding some sort of protection on it.

I’m strongly against it.

This is open wheel racing which to me should mean open cockpit too. We’re finally getting a car that looks like it used to, and it’s moving the needle because of that. The excitement is as good as its been in years. The wheels are finally opening up again. Why add an ugly piece to a car to ruin it?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for safety and keeping drivers safe, but these drivers know the risk when they choose this career path. Closing the cockpit will make these cars a faster version of IMSA.

Sorry, but no thanks.

IndyCar drivers are daredevils. They know what they’re doing. That’s why it’s an art and not for everybody. It’s the best racing on the planet with the most talent in the world. If a seven-time Cup champion doesn’t want to try it because of overhead protection, that’s perfectly fine. That’s his prerogative. IndyCar doesn’t need Johnson just like Johnson doesn’t need IndyCar. If he’s comfortable with a roof over his head then stay in NASCAR. That’s perfectly fine.

But, I know how this works, and I now know there’s going to be that outrage against IndyCar for not having protection and they lost out on a driver of Johnson’s magnitude.

No, IndyCar has done everything right since its existence for not having a closed cockpit. I’m sorry if lives have been lost due to this, and I’m really not trying to be ruthless, but leave it alone. Don’t gang up against IndyCar for this and force them to make a bad decision in wake of these comments.

IndyCar is just fine.

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