Jimmie Johnson talked about his decision that 2020 will be his last full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series during a press conference at Hendrick Motorsports.
Johnson first unveiled his plans yesterday on social media that next year will be his 19th and final as a full-time driver. On Thursday, Johnson was joined by owner Rick Hendrick on stage as he discussed his decision.
"It’s been an interesting process and a day you can’t never really plan for, but it’s here and I’m just thankful to be with family, friends and this man right here (Rick Hendrick) and all that he’s done for my life," Johnson said.
"I feel very, very good about my decision. It’s time. It just feels right and I’m ready."
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As the 2019 season wound down, Johnson said, "the feeling just became real." He went to Hendrick’s house about three weeks ago to tell him the news.
"On a funny note I did mention to him I think twice, or maybe three times, that 2020 was going to be my last year and he never reacted," Johnson said. "Then on the fourth time he said, ‘I guess you are serious about this aren’t you?’"
After stepping away from full-time racing, Johnson is looking forward to spending more time with his family. Johnson’s daughters, Genevieve and Lydia, introduced their father and Hendrick to the stage to begin the press conference.
The 44-year-old Johnson has a record-tying seven Cup titles, which include five straight from 2006-2010, that are equaled only by NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
"What he’s done for this company it’s our goal to give him the absolute best and we want to see him go out on top winning and getting that championship," Hendrick said.
When 2021 rolls around, Johnson said this is not retirement from racing.
"This is stepping down from the 38 weeks a year that it takes to be competitive and the time that goes with that," Johnson said. "I would come back and drive Cup cars for Rick without a doubt. All options are open honestly except Indy Cars and fast ovals. I really look forward to what might develop in 12 months from now and see what opportunities might be out there."
No timetable has been set for Johnson’s replacement in 2021.
"We are just going to focus on Jimmie Johnson right now," Hendrick said.