Story By: AMY STOCK / HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS – CONCORD, NC – On Nov. 20, 2019, seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson announced that 2020 would be his final full-time NASCAR season. His career rewrote the record books.
Johnson has won 83 Cup races and is tied for sixth on the all-time victories list. He is tied with NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the most championships in history and became the youngest driver to amass seven titles.
The El Cajon, California, native is the only driver ever to win five championships in a row (2006-2010) – a singular feat that is unlikely to be matched. Johnson has won 12 of NASCAR’s “crown jewel” races, including the 2006 and 2013 DAYTONA 500s, four times at Indianapolis and two Southern 500s at Darlington.
He has four NASCAR All-Star Race victories and has won a record 28 times on 1.5-mile tracks. Johnson’s first victory came in his home state of California in April 2002 in his 13th start, and his most recent was at Dover in June 2017.
FINAL LAP: Sunday’s race at Phoenix Raceway will mark Johnson’s final start as a full-time NASCAR driver.
His career began on Oct. 7, 2001, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Johnson recorded 663 consecutive races, never missing a NASCAR Cup Series start until July 5 of this season when a positive COVID-19 test kept him from competing at Indianapolis.
He holds the fifth-most consecutive starts in NASCAR history, behind only Jeff Gordon (797), Ricky Rudd (788), Bobby Labonte (704) and Rusty Wallace (697). Phoenix will mark his 686th start in the Cup Series.
SUCCESS AT PHOENIX: Johnson is the proud owner of four NASCAR Cup Series wins at Phoenix Raceway. He has led 994 laps around the desert track and holds an average finish of 10.4. In 34 starts there, the 45-year-old driver has accumulated 15 top-five finishes and 21 top-10s.
FINAL SCHEME UNVEILED: Johnson took to his Instagram account on Tuesday to unveil the final paint scheme he will race on Sunday at Phoenix.
The hand-painted No. 48 Chevy includes a silver base, which matches the seven NASCAR Cup Series championship trophies Johnson has collected.
The car is topped with the colors of primary sponsor Ally and features the driver’s signature neon-yellow car number.
ANOTHER CHANCE AT 84: On Sunday, Johnson will have one more chance to change the record books.
If he wins at Phoenix Raceway, he will have scored his 84th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series win to tie Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for fourth on the all-time list. Johnson has the most wins of all active drivers with 83.