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NASCAR Cup: Billy Johnson in No. 43 at Sonoma

Billy Johnson (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Billy Johnson (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Richard Petty Motorsports announced Monday that road-course specialist Billy Johnson will be in the No. 43 RPM Ford for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, one of two road courses on the Cup Series schedule. The race will be Johnson’s Cup Series debut.
“It is going to be awesome,” Johnson said. “It will be my first NASCAR Cup race, and to debut in the 43 car, one of the most iconic numbers to ever race in NASCAR, is a huge honor. Richard Petty Motorsports is a great organization. To have the chance to make my Cup debut for “The King” is surreal, and I appreciate them putting me in the car.”
The regular driver of the No. 43, Aric Almirola, remains sidelined by a back fracture he suffered in a crash at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in May. Two races ago, Darrell Wallace Jr. was announced as the driver of the No. 43 until Almirola’s return. Almirola said publicly last week that he hopes to climb back into the car in late July. Other than the Sonoma race, Wallace is expected to be behind the wheel of the No. 43 for the remaining races until Almirola is able to return to the driver’s seat.
Johnson has five-career starts in NASCAR national-level competition, all coming in the Xfinity Series between 2010 and 2013. His best Xfinity Series finish, to date, was an eighth-place showing in Montreal in 2012. Four of his five Xfinity starts came on road courses, with the lone oval start coming at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon in 2013.
“I have run a lot of Xfinity races, but this will be my first Cup race,” Johnson said. “It is awesome that RPM and everyone at Ford Performance has the confidence in me to take on Sonoma. I have run pretty well in the Xfinity road-course races I have done, so I hope that translates into a good showing this weekend.
Johnson is a three-time winner in 24 races in the Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series, with all three of those wins coming between 2012 and 2013, his last two years in that series. He was a part of the Ford Chip Ganassi Team in that finished 27th in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“We are so excited about Billy Johnson making his Cup debut. He drove great for us in Le Mans this past weekend, has been a champion for us in the past in the GT3500, and he’s been one of our development drivers for awhile,” Ford Performance Global Director Dave Pericak said. “To be able to put him in a Cup car, at the highest level of NASCAR in the iconic No. 43 Fusion, and to let him show his skills at Sonoma, well, we couldn’t be happier for him to have this chance.”
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on June 20, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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