Jimmie Johnson announced on Wednesday that he would no longer be racing full-time in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series following the 2020 season. On Thursday, Johnson addressed the media along with his team owner Rick Hendrick regarding the decision.
Johnson stated in Thursday’s press conference that his retirement wouldn’t be from racing all together.
“This is not a retirement from driving race cars,” Johnson said during Thursday’s press conference at Hendrick Motorsports. “This is slowing down from 38 weekends a year and you certainly know the stress and pressure. That grind that it takes and 19 years in Cup and 2 years in the Xfinity Series. Plus everything before that, like you know one of the more balances is really where that sits but it’s been a bit of a run and we’re gonna keep going.”
Rick Hendrick said during Thursday’s press conference that he was “shocked” to learn about Johnson’s retirement following next season.
“Shocked. Every time one of these drivers calls me and they want to come to my house, I know that’s not a good situation,” Rick Hendrick said.
The 7-time champion also stated that all options are open when it comes to racing except for IndyCar and fast ovals. Johnson also said that he would come back and drive Cup cars for Rick Hendrick if the opportunity came about.
Post 2020 and beyond, Johnson has not had any discussions yet for what that may entail.
“No, I haven’t talked to anybody. Haven’t even thought about it.”
At the end of Thursday’s press conference, Johnson would hold back tears when he was talking about Rick Hendrick and all of the people in the NASCAR industry.
“When I look back on the years I’ve had so far at NASCAR, I fall back to the experiences of the people. Those are the things that come to mind. Not holding the trophy in Victory Lane or on the stage at Las Vegas as we did so many times. It’s the people,” Johnson said.
As for the 2020 season, Johnson said that his ultimate goal is to make it to the Championship 4 next year in Phoenix.
“The outlook for next year is absolutely to win races and be in the final four. That is absolutely the goal for next year,” Johnson said.