Jimmie Johnson, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson returned to NASCAR Cup Series competition for the first time since 2020 in the Daytona 500. But is he back full-time?
After spending the last two years competing in IndyCar, first as a road and street course driver for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021 and then as a full-time driver for the team in 2022, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is back in the Cup Series this year, driving the No. 84 Chevrolet for Legacy Motor Club.
Legacy Motor Club, formerly known as Petty GMS Motorsports, changed their name when Johnson joined as a part owner ahead of the 2023 season.
The 47-year-old El Cajon, California native made his first start since the 2020 season finale at Phoenix Raceway when he competed in the 2023 season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway this past Sunday.
This race was Jimmie Johnson’s 687th career NASCAR Cup Series race and first not behind the wheel of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
What are his plans moving forward?
Johnson is not competing full-time in the Cup Series this year, despite unretiring and making his return. He has said that he has a list of between 12 and 14 races that he would like to narrow down to between five and 10 throughout the season.
It currently stands at just two. Aside from the Daytona 500, the only race which Johnson has confirmed as a part of his 2023 schedule is the inaugural race at the Chicago Street Course, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 2.
Johnson teased that a full-time return was a possibility when he posted a picture of his new NASCAR credentials, noting that they stated “full season” and that he evidently had “options” for his first season back in the sport where he made a name for himself from 2001 to 2020.
This Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway would be a logical selection for Johnson since it is his home track, but it is also one of the few tracks where he competed in 2020 and actually got a proper sendoff, as it was one of the four tracks which hosted a race before the unexpected 10-week hiatus caused by COVID-19-related restrictions.
He is not slated to compete in this race and does not currently have any starts lined up before the Chicago race, though that will likely change at some point since that race is more than four months away.