"I'm so grateful for 18 incredible years of racing in NASCAR," the two-time Daytona 500 champ said in a video on social media

By Ashley Boucher
November 20, 2019 08:30 PM

Jimmie Johnson is preparing for his last season with NASCAR.

The longtime racer announced on his Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday that after 18 years of competing in the sport, it’s time for him to hit the brakes.

“I’m so grateful for 18 incredible years of racing in NASCAR,” Johnson, 44, said in a video shared on social media. “The sport has been good to me. It has allowed me to do something I truly love.”

Footage played from throughout his career in the clip — including his championship wins at the Daytona 500 — as Johnson continued, saying, “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,” he said. “I know what this team is capable of, and I hope 2020 is one of the best yet.”

Many fellow NASCAR drivers and athletes flooded the comments on the video to offer their support of Johnson, who is tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most Cup Series championships of all time.

“It’s been a hell of a time watching you 🐐🐐,” wrote NASCAR racer Ty Gibbs.

“What. A. Ride. Inspiring human you are JJ! Looking forward to watching this last season closely and seeing what comes next! 💛,” added professional surfer Ian Walsh.

Both drivers Daniel Suarez and Tony Kanaan called Johnson a “legend,” and racing analyst Rutledge Wood added, “Congrats man 🙌 this is going to be awesome 🤛🏻🤛🏻.”

Retired cyclist Lance Armstrong also commented on the video, writing, “Proud of you bro. And even prouder to call you a friend. Let’s go get #8. 🐐 🐐🐐🐐🐐🐐🐐🐐.”

Johnson has had an illustrious run in the sport since his 2001 debut and has won seven titles in NASCAR’s top division, the stock-car racing company said.

In addition to winning the Daytona 500 twice, in 2006 and 2013, Johnson has also won both the Coca-Cola 600 and the Brickyard 400 four times each. The racer’s first five championships were won consecutively from 2006 to 2010, breaking the record of consecutive wins previously held by Cale Yarborough.

Jimmie Johnson
| Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France said in a statement that Johnson will be going down in the sport’s history “for his hard-charging success on the racetrack and the way he conducted himself as a champion off the track.”

“This remarkable seven-time champion – through his competitive spirit, immense talent and sportsmanship – has made NASCAR a better sport,” France added. “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.”