NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson finally has a new number

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

For the first time since his NASCAR Cup Series career began, Jimmie Johnson is set to drive a car with a number other than No. 48.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has only ever competed for one team at the sport’s top level, that being Hendrick Motorsports. He made his series debut in 2001 and competed full-time from 2002 to 2020, missing just one race during that 19-year span.

In all 686 of his starts with Rick Hendrick’s team, he drove the No. 48 Chevrolet. So when it was announced in early November that he would be returning to the Cup Series in 2023, after spending the last two seasons driving the No. 48 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing in IndyCar, one of the key talking points surrounding his return pertained to potential car numbers.

Alex Bowman and Hendrick Motorsports confirmed pretty early on that they would be keeping the No. 48, meaning that for the first time in more than two decades, the 47-year-old El Cajon, California native would need to find a new number.

That new number was finally announced on Wednesday, along with a new name for the NASCAR Cup Series team with which he signed.

Johnson was signed by Petty GMS Motorsports not only to drive part-time throughout the 2023 season but to become a part owner.

Because it would have been “clunky and clumsy” to include his name in a team name that already contained nods to fellow seven-time champion Richard Petty and majority owner Maury Gallagher, the team rebranded as Legacy Motor Club as a way to honor the history of the owners while also driving the organization forward.

While his schedule hasn’t yet been confirmed, aside from the fact that he is set to attempt to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, Johnson is set to drive the No. 84 Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet when he competes throughout the 36-race 2023 campaign.

The No. 84 makes sense for two reasons. Number one is obvious; it is what you get when you reverse the digits of his longtime number No. 48. Number two is the fact that he has been sitting at 83 career Cup Series victories, good for a sixth place tie on the all-time wins list, since June 2017.

Can he become the first ever race winner in the history of car number No. 84 and move into a tie for fourth?

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

Also set to compete for Legacy Motor Club are Erik Jones, who has driven the No. 43 Chevrolet since 2021, and rookie Noah Gragson, who is replacing Ty Dillon behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet.