NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson’s #OneFinalTime ends in Phoenix

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson will compete in his final full-time race on Sunday at Phoenix Raceway in the Season Finale 500 in Avondale, Arizona. This will be his 686th career NASCAR Cup Series start, according to Racing Reference.

Johnson has been competing in NASCAR’s top level since 2001. Since that time, he has driven to 83 victories in his 20-year career.

Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson competes in the Bank of America ROVAL 400
Jimmie Johnson competes in the Bank of America ROVAL 400 (Photo by Jimmie Johnson/Instagram)

“I knew as a rookie on his team 10 years ago that I was going into something that he was already established and already one of the greats of the sport,” Rear-Tire Changer Calvin Teague said, according to Hendrick Motorsports. “The run that we have had since then and having the opportunity to work with him, I knew he was destined for great things even before joining. It’s been a blessing.”

Related: 7-time Champ Johnson to leave the Cup Series after 2020 season

However, he has not won an event since the 2017 season. All of his 83 victories have come with Hendrick Motorsports.

He last won the 2017 AAA 400 Drive for Autism on June 4, 2017 at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. He only led seven of the 406 laps to get the win.

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This past three years; however, Johnson has gone 106 races without a win. He has gone from Chad Knaus, Kevin Meendering, and Cliff Daniels

Daniels will be reassigned to Kyle Larson in the No. 5 car for the 2021 season.

The legendary driver is one of the greatest drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series history. He is one of three drivers in the history of the sport with seven Championships. 

Related: Megan Lingner (Meyer) retires on top with 2020 TAD Championship

He is tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. “The King” won his Championships in 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, and 1979. 

“The Intimidator” won his seven championships in 1980, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1994. Johnson won five straight Championships from 2006 through 2010, then won two additional championships in 2013 and 2016

Johnson has the sixth-most wins in the history of the sport. He is tied with Cale Yarborough with the 83 wins. 

He will only trail Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, who are tied for fourth all-time with 84 wins. Jeff Gordon had 93 wins. 

Only two men have won more than 100 wins in the history of the sport. David Pearson won 105, while “The King” leads them all with 200. 

Petty had 119 wins during the Strictly Stock and Grand National era (1949-1970, before winning 81 during the Winston Cup era (1971-2003). 

“When we first started, the only expectation was to run in the top 10 or do as well as we could,” Hendrick Motorsports Production supervisor Ron Malec said. “In our first year we were in contention for a championship. There was a lot of pressure to perform and we were a lot of young guys with not very much experience when it came down to those pressure situations. It brought us closer together as a group, so further down the road we performed better due to that pressure we learned early.

“You know, there is a saying that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win, and that is what we did early in our career, which made us more successful.”

Johnson will transition to the Carvana Racing IndyCar team in 2021. He plans to compete in the next two seasons in the sport with Chip Ganassi Racing.

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