One of the most dazzling careers in NASCAR is coming to an end: With 18 seasons under his belt and seven NASCAR Cup wins to his name, Jimmie Johnson has announced he’ll retire from full-time driving after the 2020 season. He made the announcement Nov. 20 via Twitter.
“I’m so grateful for 18 incredible years of racing in NASCAR,” says in the video. “The sport has been good to me, and has allowed me to do something I truly love.”
Check it out below:
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) November 20, 2019
Even people who don’t follow NASCAR have likely heard of Johnson. Ever since his breakout rookie season, he’s proven himself to be a formidable opponent on the racetrack. He’s the only driver in history to nab five consecutive Cup championships (that would be ’06–’10), and he’s tied with NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. for total Cups won.
That’s a pretty big trophy case. Despite his vaunted place in the sport, Johnson strikes a humble tone in his announcement video.
“I showed up chasing a dream, and achieved more than I ever thought possible,” he says.
The announcement prompted a formal statement from NASCAR chairman and CEO Jim France, who praised Johnson’s competitive spirit and leadership off the track, adding, “he has made NASCAR a better sport.” The news also generated an outpouring of support online from fellow drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Larson:
This man did it right from start to finish. Won everything and never changed who he was. I can’t wait to spend next year observing the weekly celebrations of one of the greatest to ever do it. https://t.co/ENMbctDABt
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) November 20, 2019
Nobody I enjoy battling with more on the race track than 7 time. The greatest driver of my generation. Look forward to 38 more races with you! https://t.co/SmpAQz26Cz
— Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) November 20, 2019
Bear in mind, Johnson isn’t done yet. He’ll be giving it his all next season in hopes of notching his eighth NASCAR Cup, and besting Petty and Earnhardt Sr.’s record for the most all-time wins.
“I know what this team is capable of,” Johnson says, “and I hope 2020 is one of the best yet.”
But what’s he going to do post-NASCAR? Our money’s on running. He did qualify for next year’s Boston Marathon, after all.
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