Alonso, Johnson to swap cars at end of F1 season

NASCAR apologizes to No. 48 team for errant penalty			Image by Russell LaBounty  LAT

NASCAR apologizes to No. 48 team for errant penalty Image by Russell LaBounty LAT

He will attend the F1 finale in Abu Dhabi, which is Alonso's final race before the two-time world champion leaves the series.

The 43-year-old will be trading places with Fernando Alonso at the end of the month at the Bahrain International Circuit, one day after the 2018 F1 season finale at Abu Dhabi.

RACER understands one of Hendrick Motorsport's No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s raced by Johnson this year was dispatched for Bahrain last month ahead of the test.

The swap, which comes at time Alonso has yet to reveal his plans for 2019, though they do not include F1 or a full IndyCar season, is understood to be a bit more than the usual auto swap, and will involve Johnson spending time in the McLaren simulator beforehand. I feel like there is a chance for that to start coming back.

"It is the ultimate auto", Johnson said.

"Fernando is putting himself in position to really be able to do that from IndyCar, F1, sports cars - and who knows where the NASCAR opportunity will take him?" The Hendrick auto was put in a container October 2 to be shipped, with enough tires and equipment to run a full day.

Alonso during the interview also denied suggestions that he was leaving F1 because he could not obtain a drive with a higher ranked team for next season.

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The experience is already being referred to on social media as #JJxALO.

Lewis Hamilton, while competing for McLaren, ran laps of Watkins Glen, while Tony Stewart completed laps aboard Formula 1 machinery.

Autosport has learned the plan is much more extensive than a typical vehicle swap which has taken place before, including most recently in 2011 between F1 champion Lewis Hamilton and three-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen.

For those wondering, Johnson said he has no hint that Alonso is doing this to consider a future racing NASCAR.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott was at MIS on the same day Bodine drove Luyendyk's auto. Awesome Bill got the opportunity three years later, also at MIS, when Elliott drove several laps around MIS in Cheever's Indy vehicle, hitting a top speed of 210 miles per hour on his fastest lap. The plan was for Brack to drive a few weeks later in the Daytona 500.

Gee, we wonder ... given that he'll soon drive Johnson's Cup auto, what's on Alonso's schedule for mid-February?

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