Seven-Time Champion Jimmie Johnson Making Return To NASCAR

Johnson last raced in NASCAR in 2020

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November 5

Some of the greatest players in their respective sports have retired only to come back (see: Tom Brady).

Now, Jimmie Johnson is following the same path.

After being away from NASCAR for two seasons, the star-studded driver is making his return to the series in 2023 and will be part-owner of Petty GMS, according to The Associated Press. The seven-time NASCAR champion plans to participate in five Cup races, starting with the season-opening Daytona 500, which Johnson has won twice.

“I’ve had a watchful eye on the ownership part and what’s happening with NASCAR, and the opportunity that I have here, the business structure and the model with NASCAR charters is just so different from than anything else in motorsports,” Johnson told the AP. “I want to be part of it. We certainly watched Michael Jordan join, what the Trackhouse Racing folks have done, and there’s all these rumors of people who want to get into the sport.

“I’m honored and thankful that I’m going to be part of it.”

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Johnson’s car number and sponsors are still being determined. Johnson raced two seasons of IndyCar before deciding to walk away from full-time racing in September. He initially retired from NASCAR in 2020.

Johnson told the AP he didn’t have any talks with Hendrick Motorsports about becoming an owner and that his deal with GMS came rather quickly.

“This is a tremendous day for our sport. Jimmie is one of the all-time great champions on the racetrack, and I know he’ll apply the same mentality to his role as a team owner,” Hendrick said in a statement, per the AP. “… Seeing Jimmie in a firesuit with his name on the roof of a Chevrolet at the Daytona 500 is going to be very special for a lot of people. Competing against him will certainly be a change, and a big challenge, but we welcome his return to NASCAR and look forward to the next chapter of a truly remarkable career.”

Johnson has bucket-list events he would like to race in as part of his comeback, including hoping NASCAR will allow him to participate in the 2023 All-Star race.

Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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