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.
See Also: Jimmie Johnson Through the Years
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.
See Also: NASCAR Community Reacts to Announcement
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 (@JimmieJohnson) November 20, 2019
Statement from NASCAR Chairman & CEO Jim France:
"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."