Since Darrell Wallace Jr. doesn’t have a ton of road racing experience, Richard Petty Motorsports is using a road racing ace for their replacement for Aric Almirola in the famed No. 43 Ford this weekend at Sonoma. RPM called on Billy Johnson to drive their car on the California road course. Johnson, a former Roush/Fenway Racing driver, made five XFINITY Series starts. His best result was an eight place effort at Montreal in 2012.
Johnson, currently drives for Chip Ganassi Racing and their sports car program, with him recently competing in Le Mans just last weekend. At this point you may be wondering what’s the connection here? Why a CGR sport car driver is making his Cup debut on a road course for RPM?
The answer is simple – Ford.
CGR runs Fords in sports cars, RPM is a Ford team in NASCAR. That was the connection to Wallace racing the last two weeks for them, and returning to the seat at Daytona next weekend. Johnson, gives them the best opportunity at winning at Sonoma on Sunday, and with Fords backing and blessing, it was a perfect fit.
Johnson, is a highly decorated road racing ace, and Ford is excited to be able to showcase one of their own aces at NASCAR’s top level this weekend.
So far, he’s had a pretty good weekend. He was 22nd and 29th respectively in practice on Friday and qualified his car 26th for Sunday’s race.