Jimmie Johnson announced Wednesday he will retire from racing following the 2020 NASCAR season.
The winningest active driver and seven-time Cup Series champion, Johnson joined the series full-time in 2002. He won five consecutive championships from 2006-10, the longest streak in NASCAR history, and his seven overall titles ties him for the most all time.
“I’m so thankful for 18 incredible years of racing in NASCAR,” Johnson said in a video released on his Twitter account. “I’m looking forward to next season and celebrating what will be my last year as a full-time NASCAR Cup driver.”
SN Q&A: Johnson talks NASCAR’s future, midweek Cup races, more
“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,” NASCAR chairman and CEO Jim France said in a statement released Wednesday. “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.”
The last time Johnson lifted the Cup Series trophy was 2016, and the past two seasons have been his worst as a full-time driver. After winning at least two races in each of his first 16 campaigns, he didn’t pick up a win in 2018 or 2019, leading to his worst finishes in the standings (14th and 18th, respectively).
Johnson has won 83 races in his career, tying for sixth most all time. One more win would move him into a three-way tie for fourth place on the leaderboard.
He is one of four active Hendrick Motorsports drivers and the only driver to have driven the No. 48 car for the team.