Jimmie Johnson Says He Got a Tutor to Help Him with NASCAR iRacing During Hiatus

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2020

Jimmie Johnson prior to a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Phoenix Raceway, Sunday, March 8, 2020, in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Ralph Freso/Associated Press

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champ Jimmie Johnson is doing what he can to make strides in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series.

Michelle R. Martinelli of USA Today reported Johnson hired a tutor to help him in the electronic races that are happening while both NASCAR and IndyCar are on hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 44-year-old said:

"Every day last week, I was up until midnight, one in the morning, going to school and having a tutor literally teach me how to run and operate things at the right level, so I can be competitive, let alone even drive the thing. Driving has its own challenges. So that part's started off as fun, and then of course, my competitive spirit kicked in and now it's frustrating."

Martinelli noted Johnson also got a NASCAR-specific rig after finishing in 31st out of 35 drivers at the first NASCAR Pro Invitational Series event at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway two weekends ago while using an IndyCar setup.

"I feel like there are two hurdles for me to get over in the IndyCar rig," Johnson said. "One, the nuances of the sim, and two, just the real experience to know what you're looking for."

He finished in 16th out of 25 drivers during his IndyCar iRacing debut on Saturday at Watkins Glen International and showed signs of improvement Sunday with a 19th-place finish at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway.

Johnson, who announced this will be his final season as a full-time Cup driver, may not take home seven Cup Series titles in the virtual world, but he is at least making strides as the electronic races continue with the actual racing on hiatus. Next up is virtual Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday; the California native has won the spring race there twice. 

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