Johnson 'not done' in NASCAR after major sponsor's exit announcement

Jimmie Johnson insists he is "not done" in the NASCAR Cup series after the announcement his long-time primary sponsor Lowe's will end its backing of his Hendrick Motorsports car

Johnson 'not done' in NASCAR after major sponsor's exit announcement

Lowe's announced on Wednesday it would pull its sponsorship of Johnson's #48 at the end of 2018, bringing an end to a 17-year relationship.

There is also uncertainty about whether Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus, who is not currently under contract for next season, will remain at the team.

Johnson's current contract runs until 2020 and, addressing media on Friday, he was quick to hush questions about whether he might considered retiring at the end of the season.

"First of all, what a run to have an 18-year relationship with such an amazing company," said seven-time champion Johnson, who has not won a Cup event in 27 races.

"The friendships, the relationships, the way we've been able to deliver to their marketing efforts, the history we've made in our own sport, the chance I had to even drive a Cup car was because of them.

"There are so many levels to it that I am very, very thankful for and proud of.

"Of course I wish we could finish it out together, but that's not the circumstance."

He added: "I'm not done, man. I guess maybe it's the eternal optimist that I am.

"I have more to do and I enjoy the process. Hendrick is home and retirement hasn't been on my mind.

"I want to win. I want to win an eighth championship."

Johnson added Knaus's contract situation had "nothing to do with Lowe's" decision, and said he also felt a sense of responsibility to help his three younger team-mates - Chase Elliott, William Byron and Alex Bowman - at Hendrick.

"I'm the elder statesman in a company with three young guys," he said.

"If I was to have this be the end, [it would] put Hendrick Motorsports in a very awkward position and I don't know.

"There are just a lot of different ways I could look at it and say that it's the absolute wrong time.

"But I guess at the end of the day it's really my desire to compete and to compete at a high level. I'm not done yet."

shares
comments
Kevin Harvick responsible for Stewart-Haas dominance - Earnhardt Jr

Previous article

Kevin Harvick responsible for Stewart-Haas dominance - Earnhardt Jr

Next article

NASCAR Fontana: 24 cars offered new tyres to avoid start disparity

NASCAR Fontana: 24 cars offered new tyres to avoid start disparity
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR
Author Tim Southers
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021
Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines Plus

Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines

The American stock car scene is more famous for its close racing and occasional punch-ups, but there have been some fantastic machines too. As part of Autosport's 70th anniversary celebrations in 2020, we picked out five of its best

NASCAR
Jan 3, 2021
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Plus

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future

NASCAR
Nov 17, 2020
Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy Plus

Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy

The last season of a retiring NASCAR great has shown promise, and may have resulted in another playoff push without small issues outside his control. 2020 won't be the year Jimmie Johnson would have wanted, but it won't be what he is remembered for

NASCAR
Sep 3, 2020
Why a Le Mans winner is heading into the “unknown world” of NASCAR Plus

Why a Le Mans winner is heading into the “unknown world” of NASCAR

Comparing Porsche's 919 HYBRID LMP1 to NASCAR is motorsport's equivalent of apples and oranges, but this weekend one of Weissach's top works aces will pit his skills against the regulars and revive the tradition of the 'road-course ringer'

NASCAR
Aug 13, 2020