Set for an official release that could come at any time, 2006 and 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup champ Jimmie Johnson will co-drive in the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona with Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser with Lowe's Home Improvement sponsorship in...
Set for an official release that could come at any time, 2006 and 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup champ Jimmie Johnson will co-drive in the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona with Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser with Lowe's Home Improvement sponsorship in the No. 99 of GAINSCO/Bob Stalling Racing Pontiac-Riley.
Johnson will complete the team's already formidable all-champion driver line up.
Following a record-setting seven Rolex Series wins in 2007, Gurney and Fogarty are reigning Rolex Series Daytona Prototype driving champions; Vasser won the CART championship in 1996 on the strength of four wins and has regularly made driving contributions to the Bob Stallings-owned team.
Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports' No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet, with Chad Knaus atop the pit box, dominated the Nextel Cup series when it most counted, scoring four of his season-high 10 wins-during the series' final 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup.
Though Johnson's alignment with the No. 99 team wasn't entirely unexpected, Johnson was careful to make a tenuous connection with the team during the Rolex Series' recent Pirelli tire test at Daytona International Speedway, at the time saying, "Right now I'm just trying to put everything together for the race, kind of getting in an audition and put in some seat time."
Subsequent to the Pirelli test, Johnson was rumored to be also attempting a second-car, three-race 2008 Rolex Series deal and, possibly, a full-season DP team run - Johnson getting DP seat time in half or fewer of the series' 13 post-Rolex 24 race dates.
Beginning with the Rolex Series' second race March 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Vasser was to be the Johnson team's fulltime regular co-driver, but sources say such now is unlikely to happen. Most prominent among the driver names being floated as the team's "part-time" driver - filling in whenever Johnson chose not to race - was Burt Frisselle, who now appears to be headed for a ride with former Craftsman Truck Series regular Bill Lester in a second Kevin Doran-managed, Ford-powered Dallara to debut at Homestead-Miami. Lester finished 21st in the final CTS points standings despite having started in only 15 of the series' 21 races in 2007.
- DC Williams, Exclusively for Motorsport.com.