NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson hinting full-time return?

Jimmie Johnson, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jimmie Johnson, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Jimmie Johnson is set to return to the NASCAR Cup Series on a part-time basis in 2023. But could that turn into a full season?

After spending the last two seasons competing in IndyCar for Chip Ganassi Racing, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is set to return to the Cup Series in 2023, driving the No. 84 Chevrolet for Legacy Motor Club.

When Johnson signed with the team, they were still known as Petty GMS Motorsports. The rebrand to Legacy Motor Club came as a result of the fact that Johnson was added not only as a driver but as a co-owner.

The 47-year-old El Cajon, California native, who competed full-time with Hendrick Motorsports from 2002 to 2020, initially signed to compete part-time throughout the 2023 season.

His only confirmed race was and remains the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Because the No. 84 Chevrolet is not a chartered entry, he isn’t locked into the race and must secure a spot either via his speed in the single-car qualifying session or his result in his Bluegreen Vacations Duel.

Could Jimmie Johnson’s 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule include all 36 races?

Johnson shared his NASCAR credentials on Friday afternoon, stating that it looks like he has “options” for the 2023 season. The credentials contain the words “full season”, which could very well give him the option to run the full schedule.

It isn’t impossible for a non-chartered car to run a full schedule, and Johnson has the backing from Carvana to do it if he pleases. It happened in 2021, when Ryan Preece drove the No. 37 Chevrolet in all 36 races for JTG Daugherty Racing after its charter was sold following the 2023 season.

Of course, the tweet could also simply mean exactly what he is saying — that he does have “options” throughout the entire season and isn’t limited to where and when he can compete.

That was pretty much implied by his initial deal anyway, since he is a co-owner of the team and has always been planning on making “select starts” during the year.

But could the desire to climb higher on the all-time wins list and win what would be a record-breaking eighth championship, coupled with the fact that the overwhelming majority of his final full season was marred by COVID-19-related restrictions at tracks all across the country, result in a 20th full season and perhaps a true farewell tour?

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

A full season could also potentially mean that a Memorial Day Double attempt is in the cards, since he reportedly still wants to run the Indy 500 again.