Jimmie Johnson is facing an uncertain future in the NASCAR Cup Series, but it appears as though he will continue driving in 2024.
After spending the last two seasons in IndyCar, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who initially retired from the Cup Series after the 2020 season, returned to Cup Series competition as not only a part-time driver but as a team co-owner.
Johnson is now a co-owner of the team formerly known as Petty GMS Motorsports, the team formed when Richard Petty Motorsports and GMS Racing merged ahead of the 2022 season. Johnson’s arrival led to the organization being renamed Legacy Motor Club.
Legacy Motor Club recently announced that they will be switching their manufacturer from Chevrolet to Toyota in 2024, a move that caught many off guard.
Richard Petty Motorsports have been with Chevrolet since switching from Ford ahead of the 2018 season, and GMS Racing have been aligned with Chevrolet since opening in 2011.
And perhaps more significantly, Johnson has competed in 793 across NASCAR’s three national series since his career began in 1998, and all 793 of those starts, including 689 in the Cup Series, have come with Chevrolet.
While Johnson technically competed against Chevrolet when he drove a Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing in IndyCar in 2021 and 2022, him driving a Toyota in the Cup Series is not something that anybody every envisioned.
But is Jimmie Johnson actually going to drive, or is he going to retire from NASCAR for real this time and instead focus on team ownership?
Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson recently spoke on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” about the prospects of Johnson competing for Toyota in 2024.
According to him, it’s already a done deal.
"“100 percent. Yes, you will see him [Johnson] 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.”"
While Johnson fans, Chevrolet fans, and the contingent of the sport’s fans who are simply anti-Toyota see this statement as Wilson rubbing salt in the wound, let’s take a moment to take it at face value.
At face value, it means that Johnson has no plans to retire from the competition side anytime soon. Wilson didn’t just say that “Johnson will be driving” a Toyota Camry for the first time, which could simply mean getting behind the wheel for a test. He said that he will be “racing” one before he officially hangs up his fire suit.
He clearly plans to continue competing into at least the 2024 season, presumably doing what he has done throughout the 2023 campaign by competing in select events.