Throughout recent history, there have been a number of drivers who have tried to make the transition from IndyCar to NASCAR. When you look at the situations with Danica Patrick, Sam Hornish and Juan Pablo Montoya, those were three great drivers, but they had just middling success with stock cars.
Naturally there have been some drivers who have tried to pull "Double Duty" on Memorial Day weekend, and we will talk about that in just a moment. But BetOnline customers will see a NASCAR legend try to make his Indianapolis 500 debut a success when Jimmy Johnson loads into is #48 car for Chip Ganassi Racing on Sunday afternoon.
Johnson has won seven NASCAR Cup titles, but has he understands, that doesn't mean a whole lot when you get out how to the oval in open-wheel racing. Here, he's still just trying to get the feel of things.
But he did not race like a novice in his IndyCar debut, as he finished sixth back in March at Texas Motor Speedway. So he does come into the festivities with a certain degree of confidence.
Thus far, only AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti have won both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500, so Johnson will be trying to accomplish quite a feat.
Here it's the way some of the top drivers are listed in the Indy 500 betting odds at BetOnline. As you can see, Scott Dixon is the favorite:
Scott Dixon +550
Alex Palou +700
Patricio O'Ward +950
Rinus Veekay +1100
Ed Carpenter +1200
Josef NewGarden +1200
Marcus Ericsson +1200
Colton Herta +1400
Scott McLaughlin +1400
Will Power +1400
JIMMIE JOHNSON +1600
Takuma Sato +1600
Felix Rosenqvist +1800
Helio Castroneves +2000
There have been plenty of crossover drivers. Tony Stewart immediately comes to mind; in fact, he is the only driver to have gone the full route in both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day, having done that in 2001. What's more, he finished sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte.
No one has attempted that kind of feat since 2014, when Kurt Busch raced well enough at Indy to win the event's Rookie of the Year designation, but then had a breakdown in the Coca-Cola 600. This is the kind of thing that might be in Johnson's future, but this season, he's had enough of a job just getting used to the car he's going to be in.
But this may be a different experience for him than it has been for past drivers. Johnson has more or less declared his NASCAR career to be in the rearview mirror, and with nothing much to prove, he's just getting a lot of enjoyment out of moving into something new.
And every day brings with it different discoveries. One of the things Johnson has tried to do in this rookie season is tone down the expectations. He believes he can win, but he's not making any predictions. And he is indeed full-time on the IndyCar circuit; don't make any mistake about that.
He says he is "having the best time,” and wouldn't mind racing again on a full-time basis next season. That remains to be seen, but don't bet against it. And he has expressed that he even liked to do the 24 hours of LeMans.
He admits that he has not had an easy time adapting to IndyCar and the way it is run, but such a thing it's certainly not unexpected. On the oval courses, such as the Brickyard, where he has run many times in NASCAR, he's much more at home than on road courses.
But we are going to see what happens. He's been pretty quick during qualifying, earning a spot at 12th on the grid. And he says he does not feel a whole lot of pressure.
At + 1600, he is certainly not one of the favorites in the field; Dixon is the pre-race choice at + 550. But Johnson is bringing a whole lot more attention - including probably a sizable NASCAR audience - to this year's 500. And that can't be anything but good.
Stick with the folks from BetOnline for the best in motor sports wagering action, including all the big races set for Memorial Day weekend........ And remember that if you are holding some cryptocurrency, there is no guesswork as far as whether you can use it for a deposit, since they accept just about everything. Of course, that includes Bitcoin!