Ford World Endurance Championship GTE racer Billy Johnson will contest this weekend’s Somona NASCAR Cup round with Richard Petty Motorsports.
Johnson’s appearance is a one-off in place of Darrell Wallace, who is the team’s main stand-in while Aric Almirola recovers from the back injury he sustained in a crash at Kansas Speedway last month, for the first Cup road course race of the year.
Though the majority of his career has been spent in sportscars, Johnson made five appearances in what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series – primarily on road courses – from 2010-13.
“It is going to be awesome. 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 honour,” said Johnson.
“Richard Petty Motorsports is a great organisation. To have the chance to make my Cup debut for ‘the King’ is surreal, and I appreciate them putting me in the car.
“I have run a lot of Xfinity races, but this will be my first Cup race.
“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.”
Wallace will return to the seat for the following weekend’s Daytona round.
In his second Cup appearance at Michigan on Sunday, Wallace finished 19th after being caught up in a five-car crash in the closing laps.