CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 9, 2003) - Jimmie Johnson, driver of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet, has accepted an invitation to participate in the 2003 International Race of Champions (IROC). "Competing in IROC is going to be a lot of fun," said Johnson, while taking part in Winston Cup's "Preseason Thunder" at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. "Growing up I would watch classic IROC races with Earnhardt, Mears, A.J. Foyt, Richard Petty and my teammates Terry (Labonte) and Jeff (Gordon). “To be able to race against some of the top drivers from various series is really appealing to me and should be a great challenge.” The IROC series has featured drivers from NASCAR's top three divisions -- Winston Cup, Grand National and Craftsman Truck -- along with competitors from the World of Outlaws, IRL and CART. Johnson is hoping that he can continue Winston Cup’s dominance as of late. "The past few seasons the Winston Cup drivers have had a lot of success claiming the last three or four championships in IROC," explained Johnson. "I'm sure that a few of these guys will have a couple of tricks up their sleeves for the new guy on the block, but I'm confident that we will run well and have a lot of fun while doing it." The four races that make up the 2003 IROC schedule will take place at Daytona International Speedway in February, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April, Chicagoland Speedway in July and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August.