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today is Apr 01, 2023

Jimmie Johnson, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Jimmie Johnson, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is returning to the Cup Series in 2023, but will he be competing in the Busch Light Clash?

For the first time since the 2020 season finale at Phoenix Raceway, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is set to compete in the Cup Series this year.

Johnson, who retired after 19 seasons as the full-time driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, spent the last two seasons competing in IndyCar for Chip Ganassi Racing. In 2021, he drove the No. 48 Honda in the road and street course races, and in 2022, he competed full-time.

But after the 2022 season, he announced that he wouldn’t be returning to the series in 2023, though he didn’t rule out a return to the Indy 500.

Instead, he signed with Petty GMS Motorsports as not only a part-time driver but as a co-owner. His arrival as a co-owner of the team resulted in the organization changing their name to Legacy Motor Club, and with the No. 48 Chevrolet still being used by Rick Hendrick’s team, Johnson is set to drive the No. 84 Chevrolet.

Where will Jimmie Johnson make his NASCAR return?

The 47-year-old El Cajon, California native has no plans to compete in the preseason Busch Light Clash exhibition race at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Johnson is expected to make his first start with Legacy Motor Club in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, though he isn’t guaranteed a spot in the race since the No. 84 Chevrolet is a non-chartered entry.

There are already five non-chartered cars on the entry list, and only four will qualify since the field is capped at 40 cars and the 36 chartered entries are all locked in.

Johnson having no plans to compete in the Busch Light Clash isn’t much of a surprise, as the only 36 cars on the entry list are the chartered entries.

Additionally, there was never really any indication that this race was high on his wish list like some other races, such as the All-Star Race at the revived North Wilkesboro Speedway, are.

With that being said, nothing has been confirmed about Johnson’s plans for the 2023 season, aside from his Daytona 500 attempt. More should be announced in the near future.

Fox is set to broadcast the Busch Light Clash live from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the home of the USC Trojans, beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 5.