Jimmy Johnson, one of the most decorated car racing champions, announced the end of his full-time career on Wednesday, saying that 2020 would mark his final season in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Johnson has spent his entire career with Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet, which he called home after his debut in the 2001 series. He announced the news with a heartwarming video on Twitter and is expected to reach the media tomorrow afternoon.
̵1; Jimmy Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) November 20, 2019
"I'm so thankful for 18 years of racing at NASCAR, "says Johnson. "Sport was good for me. It allowed me to do something I really love. I showed up to pursue a dream and achieved more than I ever thought possible. I look forward to next season and celebrate what my final year will be as a full-time NASCAR Cup rider. I know what this team is capable of and I hope 2020 is one of the best yet. "
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Johnson has won seven titles at NASCAR's top division, tied for the longest time with Dale Ernhard and Richard Fifth, both members of the inaugural class of NASCAR fame. The 44-year-old driver is ranked sixth on the NASCAR All-Time List, with his 83 victories equal to Kale Yarborough's total.
Johnson is a two-time winner of the Daytona 500, prevailing in The Great American Race in 2006 and 2013. He also wins four times each in the Coca-Cola 600 and Brickyard 400, adding two Southern 500 crowns along the way, but most his distinguished achievement comes in the form of an unprecedented series.
Johnson won his first five championships consecutively from 2006-2010, adding titles in 2013 and & # 39; 16. This stretch of success surpassed the previous mark held by Yarborough, who won three straight titles from 1976-78.
The California-born last won in June 2017, dominating the Dover International Speedway Friendly Tournament, and drought triggered two high The crew chief changes within one year.
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"I'll say it when I'm done," Johnson tells reporters before the 2019 season, noticing his troublemakers who hinted he should put on his driving gloves. on the shelf. "It weighed on me and I can't wait to earn and win often. I think it would be really nice to say back to all those people who suggested I was washed and done. ”
Johnson emerged from the world of motorcycle and off-road trucks, moving to asphalt – first at the American Speed Association (ASA) and eventually to a brief overview of what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Once there, he caught the attention of four-time champion Jeff Gordon, thanks to a happy driver's seat in 2000.
"I sought advice and went out with a lifetime opportunity," Johnson recalled to the Associated Press in 2001. Gordon's conversation had already planted Johnson's name as a potential potential with Hendrick, who had projects to expand his organization from three cars to four.
This newly created team # 48, which paired Johnson with the main talent of Chad Knaus's new crew, has become one of the most productive in the history of car racing.
Johnson's statistical prowess secured his place among the greats of all time, but also broke new ground in his approach to physical fitness. Johnson remains an avid cyclist and runner; in April, he ran his first Boston Marathon just two days after competing in the 400-lap race at Richmond Raceway.
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