NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson to enter Nationwide race at Phoenix with JR Motorsports image

Jimmie Johnson will be Hendrick Motorsports’ third driver that will drive in NASCAR Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports this year.

With Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. already coming over from Hendrick Motorsports to drive for JRM in Nationwide Series, Jimmie Johnson has announced he will drive JRM’s No. 5 Chevrolet at the Phoenix race.

The five-time Cup champion, who will be sponsored by Great Clips, last drove for JRM in 2011 at Watkins Glen. Jimmie Johnson decided to enter the race as he was looking for extra track time at Phoenix International Raceway. The 1-mile track was reconfigured and repaved in 2011, and Johnson wants to train for the Sprint Cup race, especially since he blew a tire there last November while trying to race for the Cup title.

“I appreciate Junior letting me run one of his cars. My goal is to make my team owner so proud that, perhaps, he’ll invite me back more often than once every two years. In all seriousness, this is a great opportunity for me to get more familiar with the new configuration at PIR,” Jimmie Johnson said.

In order to make Johnson’s entry possible, Great Clips, which already was going to split 28 races among Kahne, Earnhardt and Brad Sweet, will increase its commitment to 29 races.