Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson to close full-time NASCAR career following 2020
Jimmie Johnson, the seven-time NASCAR champion and one of the most successful drivers in auto racing history, will compete in his 19th and final full-time Cup Series season in 2020.
Johnson confirmed the news today on social media. The 83-time Cup Series race winner will discuss his decision in a press conference on Thursday. He will be joined by Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, for whom Johnson has driven for his entire Cup career.
The 44-year-old Johnson is one of the greatest champions in sports. His record-tying seven Cup titles, which include five straight from 2006-2010, are equaled only by NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. In 2009, Johnson became the first race car driver to be named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. The elite list of sports legends who have received the honor include icons such as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Tom Brady.
All 83 of Johnson’s points-paying Cup wins have come in the No. 48 Chevrolet of Hendrick Motorsports. They include two victories in the prestigious DAYTONA 500, four at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a record 11 at Dover International Speedway, nine at Martinsville Speedway and eight at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He has led nearly 19,000 career laps and qualified for NASCAR’s playoffs in 15 of the 16 seasons since the format’s inception in 2004.
A native of El Cajon, California, Johnson began racing motorcycles at age 5 followed by off-road trucks and eventually cars on pavement. At 25, he made his NASCAR Cup Series debut at Charlotte on Oct. 7, 2001, and this past Sunday recorded his 651st career start in the 2019 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His 19th and final full-time season will open with the DAYTONA 500 on Feb. 16, 2020.
Hendrick Motorsports will announce plans for its 2021 team alignment at a later date.
JIMMIE JOHNSON FACTS:
· Jimmie Johnson bio
· 18 full-time NASCAR Cup Series seasons (2002-2019)
· Seven-time Cup Series champion (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2016)
· Seven championships tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most all-time
· Only driver to win five consecutive Cup Series championships (2006-2010)
· 651 career points-paying Cup Series starts
· 648 consecutive starts; tied for sixth-most all-time
· 16 consecutive seasons with a win (2002-2017); tied for third-longest all-time
· Cup Series record 15 playoff appearances, all consecutive (2004-2018)
· First Cup Series win: Auto Club Speedway on April 28, 2002, in 13th career start
· 36 Cup Series pole positions
· 46 Cup Series runner-up finishes
· 227 Cup Series top-five finishes (35%)
· 364 Cup Series top-10 finishes (56%)
· 18,834 Cup Series laps led
· Led in 346 of 651 starts (53%)
· 83 career Cup Series wins; tied for sixth-most all-time with Cale Yarborough
· 47 wins from 2002-2009; winningest driver of the decade
· 36 wins from 2010-2019; third-winningest driver of the decade
· Won on 20 of 25 Cup Series tracks where he has raced
· 28 career Cup Series wins on 1.5-mile tracks; most all-time
· Two or more Cup Series wins at 17 different racetracks
· Cup Series “Crown Jewel” wins: DAYTONA 500 (2006, 2013), Charlotte 600 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2014), Brickyard 400 (2006, 2008, 2009, 2012) and Southern 500 (2004, 2012)
· Won Hendrick Motorsports’ 200th race at Darlington in 2012
· Has competed against 262 different drivers over 651 career Cup Series starts
· Leads all drivers in wins at Dover (11), Charlotte oval (8), Texas (7), Auto Club (6), Las Vegas (4) and Kansas (3; tie)