NASCAR: Toyota racing boss rubs salt in the wound

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

Legacy Motor Club are set to switch manufacturers from Chevrolet to Toyota for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, and that change naturally affects Jimmie Johnson.

Legacy Motor Club recently announced plans to switch manufacturer alliances from Chevrolet to Toyota beginning in the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

The move sets up Toyota to have eight full-time entries instead of only the six they currently have, four with Joe Gibbs Racing and two with the Joe Gibbs Racing-affiliated 23XI Racing. Noah Gragson and Erik Jones currently compete for Legacy Motor Club.

Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson joined the team formerly known as Petty GMS Motorsports ahead of the 2023 season as a co-owner, and he also returned to the series as a part-time driver, having initially retired after the 2020 season. He spent the last two years competing in IndyCar.

Petty GMS Motorsports, which rebranded as Legacy Motor Club upon the 47-year-old El Cajon, California native’s arrival, were formed ahead of the 2022 season when Richard Petty Motorsports joined forces with Maury Gallagher’s GMS Racing.

Richard Petty Motorsports had switched from Ford to Chevrolet in 2018, while GMS Racing had been a Chevrolet team since they opened in 2011.

Johnson has competed in just three races behind the wheel of the No. 84 Chevrolet this year, and he hasn’t finished any of them. He currently has plans to compete in just one more, that being the inaugural race at the new Chicago Street Course, but he could still add to his schedule.

There has been speculation surrounding his future in the Cup Series as a driver, specifically whether or not he will continue competing past the 2023 season or whether he will simply shift over to the ownership side ahead of the 2024 campaign, especially given the manufacturer switch.

But Jimmie Johnson is set to continue competing in the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, according to Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson.

On SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” earlier this week, Wilson stated that there is no doubt Johnson’s driving career will continue into 2024.

With that in mind, it means that yes, he is set to drive a Toyota Camry, as hard as that may have been to believe a few years ago — or at any point in the last quarter of a century.

"“100 percent. Yes, you will see him in a Toyota. That will be very moving and emotional for me personally, professionally, for Toyota. Now I’ll let Jimmie fill in the blank, but I will just say that Jimmie Johnson will be racing a Toyota Camry before he is done as a race car driver.”"

Johnson himself has yet to announce his plans for 2024, but it seems quite clear that his switch to Toyota will go beyond ownership. It’s certainly not what Chevrolet fans, a lot of Johnson fans, and the contingent of fans who simply despite Toyota wanted to hear.

Since his NASCAR career began in the 1998 Nationwide Series season, Johnson has driven exclusively for Chevrolet. He competed in Nationwide/Xfinity Series races in 11 different seasons, and his lone Truck Series start in 2008 for Randy Moss Motorsports also came with Chevrolet.

He made his Cup Series debut in 2001 and competed full-time from 2002 to 2020, doing so with Hendrick Motorsports.

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

In total, Johnson has competed in 783 races across NASCAR’s three national series, including 689 Cup Series races, 93 Xfinity Series races, and one Truck Series race.