Jimmie Johnson to retire from NASCAR after 2020 season

After 19 years of full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition, seven-time Jimmie Johnson plans to retire from racing in the series at the end of the 2020 season, he announced Wednesday via Twitter.

“#Chasing8 one final time,” Johnson tweeted. A press conference has been scheduled for Thursday evening.

Johnson has had a record Cup Series career. His seven championships put him in a three-way tie with NASCAR Hall of Fame members Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most all-time. He won five-straight titles, a NACAR record for most consecutive championships, between 2006 and 2010. His 83 top-series race wins tie him for six with another NASCAR Hall of Famer, Cale Yarborough, on the all-time wins list.

"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. "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.”

Johnson has driven the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet through his entire Cup Series career, dating back to three races in 2001 and his first full-time season in the series in 2002. He had primary sponsorship from Lowe's from the beginning throught he 2018 season. In 651-career races, so far, Johnson also has 227 top-fives and 364 top-10 finishes. In 2009, he became the first race car driver to be named Athlete of the Year by The Associated Press.

“I’m so thankful for 18 incredible years of racing in NASCAR,” Johnson said in his Twitter video. “The sport has been good to me. It has allowed me to do something I truly love. I showed up chasing a dream and achieved more than I ever thought possible. I’m looking forward to next season and celebrating what will be my last year as a full-time NASCAR Cup driver. I know what this team is capable of, and I hope 2020 is one of the best yet.”

Johnson's most recent championship came in 2016. His three most recent race wins came during the 2017 season. He finished a career-worst 18th in the points standings in 2019. The last two seasons have been his only two full-time seasons outside the top-10. He finished 14th in 2018. The 2019 season also was Johnson’s first full-time season in which he failed to make the postseason Chase/playoffs.