NASCAR: Clear favorite to be Jimmie Johnson’s car number?

Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Jimmie Johnson doesn’t yet have a car number for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, but that is set to change in the near future.

Many fans have speculated that Jimmie Johnson’s car number for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season could be announced today, with Petty GMS Motorsports having told fans to “save the date” for some kind of an announcement on Wednesday, January 11.

The team announced in early November that the seven-time champion, who initially retired from Cup Series competition at the end of the 2020 season, had signed as not only a part-time driver but as a part owner for the 2023 campaign.

The 47-year-old El Cajon, California native has only ever competed for Hendrick Motorsports in the Cup Series, and he has only ever driven the No. 48 Chevrolet.

With Hendrick Motorsports retaining the No. 48 for Alex Bowman in 2023, Johnson’s 687th career Cup Series start is set to be his first with a new number.

What car number will Jimmie Johnson use for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season?

Recently, the No. 49 has emerged as a favorite for a number of reasons, reasons which include ties to Johnson, Richard Petty Motorsports, and GMS Racing.

Johnson and Richard Petty are both seven-time champions. The No. 7 isn’t available, and neither is the No. 77, but seven times seven is 49. While the No. 49 doesn’t have direct ties to the Petty family like several other numbers in the 40s do, it could be used by Johnson to add to that legacy.

Additionally, with the No. 48 not available, the No. 49 is the closest option. The No. 47 is already in use, as it is used for the Chevrolet driven by JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Then finally, GMS Racing initially planned on using the No. 94 before merging with Richard Petty Motorsports last year to become Petty GMS Motorsports, which resulted in a change to the No. 42 as a not to the Petty family legacy. Could we simply see a switch of the 9 and the 4?

Petty GMS Motorsports president Mike Beam even floated this option himself, though that brings up another question: would he really potentially give it away if that’s the number the team plan to go with?

Several other options have been floated, such as No. 44, a number that has ties to the Petty family and isn’t already in use, No. 94, as discussed above, No. 84, which is what you get if you reverse the No. 48, and No. 75, which is Johnson’s birth year. Of those four, No. 84 makes the most sense.

While those are the numbers most often mentioned as possibilities, you could really make a case for any number if you tried, something that Johnson and the team even joked about a few weeks ago.

There are, of course, several other details that today’s announcement could pertain to, as there is still very little known about Johnson’s return to the Cup Series, other than the fact that he is set to attempt to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway next month.

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The number of races in which Johnson is set to compete hasn’t been announced, nor have any locations other than Daytona International Speedway. A crew chief also hasn’t been confirmed, and there have even been talks of Petty GMS Motorsports potentially changing their name to reflect Johnson’s arrival as a co-owner of the organization.