NASCAR: 10 drivers who won’t be back with their 2020 teams

Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR -Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR -Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR -Mandatory Credit: Brynn Anderson/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network /

Drivers moving on after 2020: Jimmie Johnson

Another driver who has retired from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition after the 2020 season is seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who announced that the 2020 season would be his 19th and final season as a full-time driver shortly after the 2019 season ended.

He stuck to that decision despite the fact that the 2020 season turned out to be a chaotic one with not many fans in the stands getting to witness him driving one last time as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Johnson himself tested positive for COVID-19 and missed a race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway because of it, marking the first missed start since he began competing full-time in 2002, and that missed start effectively cost him a playoff berth.

He retired having competed in 686 races and winning 83 of them, although he did not win any races in 2018, 2019 or 2020 after entering the 2018 season on a 16-year streak of earning at least two victories. His most recent victory came at Dover International Speedway in June of 2017.

His seven championships are tied for the most all-time with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, and his 83 wins rank in a sixth place tie.

Johnson has not ruled out competing in future Cup Series races, but he won’t do so as a full-time driver. Should he return, it would likely be with Chip Ganassi Racing, as he is set to move to IndyCar to drive the #48 Honda for the team in the 13 road and street course races on the 17-race 2021 calendar. He signed a multi-year deal with the team.

Meanwhile, Hendrick Motorsports moved Alex Bowman from the #88 Chevrolet to drive Johnson’s #48 Chevrolet, and they renumbered the #88 Chevrolet to the #5 Chevrolet and signed Kyle Larson to drive it, effectively as Johnson’s replacement.