After nearly two decades as a NASCAR star, decorated racer and fan favorite Jimmie Johnson is getting ready to step away from the oval. Announcing his pending 2020 retirement via social media, Johnson praises the opportunities he’s had to do what he loved.
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) November 20, 2019
The seven-time champion won his last NASCAR title in 2017. Prior to that he won five championships in a row from 2006 – 2010 along with titles during the 2013 and 2016 seasons. He holds the same number of titles as legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
NASCAR CEO and Chairman Jim France had this to say about the announcement, “NASCAR history will always hold Jimmie Johnson in the highest regard, for his hard-charging success on the racetrack and the way he conducted himself as a champion off the track. This remarkable seven-time champion – through his competitive spirit, immense talent and sportsmanship – has made NASCAR a better sport. On behalf of my family and the entire NASCAR community, I thank Jimmie for his dedication to NASCAR and, along with his legions of fans, wish him all the best in his final season. I look forward to watching him race for wins and an eighth NASCAR Cup Championship in 2020.”
Following a race career with motorcycles and off-road trucks, Johnson rose through the ranks of the NASCAR system after being noticed by Jeff Gordon at what was then the NASCAR Xfinity series. Gordon connected him with Hendrick Racing and Johnson has spent the rest of his career driving the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Hendrick Motorsports.
Retirement is unlikely to mean sitting on the couch or backseat driving for the active racer, who also uses his two feet to beat the competition. The Boston Marathon competitor has plans for the future. We look forward to seeing what, exactly, he plans to go fast in next.
ETA: [This story originally stated, mistakenly, that Johnson had the same number of titles as Jeff Gordon, not hall of famer Richard Petty. This has since been corrected.]