Jimmie Johnson soon will be without Lowe’s, the only anchor sponsor he’s ever had in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
And that creates a “golden opportunity” for whoever replaces the home-improvement giant, according to Johnson.
In March, Lowe’s announced it will leave NASCAR after 18 seasons with the sport. And whichever company assumes sponsorship duties of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team might be with Johnson until the end of his storied career.
“I think for this seller’s market, clearly someone has a golden opportunity to close out with me,” Johnson recently told the Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer.
Johnson’s statement implies the obvious: His NASCAR career will come to an end at some point. Yet while the seven-time Cup champion won’t put a number on how many years he has left, it certainly sounds like the end is near.
“I’ve got a handful of years in Cup,” he told Fryer. “If we can find the right sponsor to transition from full-time NASCAR…
“I mean, I can’t stop racing. I’m always going to be racing something. I’m going to step down from the NASCAR merry-go-round at some point, but I’ve got a bucket list.”
So, what’s on the 42-year-old’s bucket list?
Johnson has many interests — riding bikes, working out and taking his family on ski trips, just to name a few. But as far as a racing bucket list is concerned, it “could include” the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona, per Fryer. Johnson, an all-around racing fan, even hinted at possibly competing in the Indianapolis 500, should the Verizon IndyCar Series ever adopt Formula One’s controversial cockpit-protecing halos.
“I like those halos in Formula One,” he said. “Those could get me a little closer to (the Indy 500).”
Johnson’s search for a new Cup sponsor will be one of the most fascinating NASCAR stories to monitor going forward. Perhaps more intriguing, however, is discovering what one of the greatest drivers in the sport’s history plans to do when he retires.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images