Seven time NASCAR monster Cup Energy Series champion Jimmie Johnson has announced that the 2020 racing season will be his last as a full time driver.
Johnson is one of only three drivers to win the championship seven times; the other two are the sports all time winningest driver in the premiere series Richard Petty with 200 race wins and Dale Earnhardt Sr who died in a wreck on the final lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001. Both Petty and Earnhardt are members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Jimmie Johnson began his career with Hendrick Motorsports in 2001 and has spent the past 18 years with HMS where he drives the number 48 car.
In a video he posted on Twitter, Johnson said, “the sport has been good to me. It has allowed me to do something I truly love. I showed up chasing a dream and achieved more than I ever thought possible. I’m looking forward to next season and celebrating what will be my last year as a full-time NASCAR Cup driver. I know what this team is capable of, and I hope 2020 is one of the best yet.”
After not winning any races for the past two and a half seasons, Johnson ranks sixth on the all time list of race winners with 83; he is tied with Cale Yarborough.
Johnson’s accomplishments include two Daytona 500 wins, four Coca-Cola 600 wins, four Brickyard 400 wins, and two Southern 500 wins. But perhaps his biggest accomplishment is winning the championship five times in a row from 2006 to 2010. He also won in 2013 and 2016.
A California native, Johnson came to NASCAR after racing motorcycles and off-road trucks. Johnson was driving in the Xfinity Series when four time Cup champion Jeff Gordon who worked to bring Johnson to Hendricks Motorsports. When not behind the wheel of the 48 car, Johnson can frequently be found making marathon runs on his bicycle or running.
Johnson became the first driver to sit behind the wheel of the 48 car after car owner Rick Hendricks expanded his team from three to four cars.
Feature photo credit: By Kim Phillips – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2718005
photo credits: By Pam J. – Flickr: Jimmie Johnson, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14139595
By Eric – Flickr: j2 in a2, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14647433