Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson is retiring from full-time racing in order to free up time to spend with his family.
The news was first reported on Monday by the Associated Press and later confirmed by Johnson via social media.
Johnson had already retired from NASCAR after 2020 and since then competed primarily in IndyCar with Chip Ganassi Racing, though he hasn’t found as much successor in the new venture as his former one, having come fifth as his best finish.
Nevertheless, Johnson’s racing career has been nothing short of historic. He holds the record for the most consecutive Cup Series championships (five, from 2006 to 2010). He nabbed his sixth in 2013 and his seventh in 2016. He is one of only three drivers with seven Cup Series championships; the other are Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt. Like Petty and Earnhardt, Johnson won all seven of his championships racing for the same team—in his case, driving the number 48 Chevrolet of Hendrick Motorsports.
I couldn’t have asked for a better experience in the @Indycar series. Looking ahead, I will not return to INDYCAR full time in 2023 but will continue to look for new ways to challenge myself and participate in bucket list events. Hear more: https://t.co/H3e7X6PTLG pic.twitter.com/0kujpWdCaw
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) September 26, 2022
Johnson’s farewell message leaves open the possibility of racing in other series or returning for special events, such as a repeat of his appearance at the 2022 Goodwood Revival. Johnson is 47, and could have some gas left in the tank if the right opportunity comes along.
One possibility is driving a modified NASCAR Next Gen race car in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. Hendrick Motorsports plans to enter the car as a special Garage 56 entry.
Another possibility for Johnson is an entry in one of the lower classes of the IMSA SportsCar Championship or FIA World Endurance Championship, though nothing has been decided.
Johnson told the Associated Press decisions on his racing future would be made in the coming months.