Jimmie Johnson, Petty GMS Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson doesn’t yet have a number for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, but there are several obvious numbers he won’t run.
After spending the last two seasons in IndyCar following his retirement from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition, Jimmie Johnson recently announced that he is set to return to the Cup Series in 2023.
Johnson has joined Petty GMS Motorsports as not just a part-time driver of a third entry but as a co-owner. He is set to make his debut with the team in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, though the rest of his schedule hasn’t yet been confirmed.
What also hasn’t been confirmed is the car number he is set to run on his Chevrolet in 2023.
In all 686 of his Cup Series starts thus far, Johnson has driven the No. 48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. However, Alex Bowman is set to continue driving the No. 48 Chevrolet in 2023, meaning that Johnson will have to use a different number for the first time in his career.
There are several other numbers that are off the table, as they are already confirmed for 2023.
For starters, Johnson isn’t going to be driving a chartered entry, and all 36 chartered entries have confirmed numbers. Those numbers include 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 31, 34, 38, 41, 42, 43, 45, 47, 48, 51, 54, 77, 78, and 99.
There are also four non-chartered entries that already have numbers for next year, including the No. 30 3F Racing Chevrolet, the No. 50 The Money Team Racing Chevrolet, the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet, and the No. 91 Trackhouse Racing Team Chevrolet.
There are other numbers tied to certain teams, such as No. 18 at Joe Gibbs Racing, that won’t be run in 2023 but also presumably won’t be made available for anybody else.
Even with Ty Gibbs set to run the No. 54 Toyota, not the No. 18 Toyota, as the replacement for the Richard Childress Racing-bound Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing have said that they plan to bring back the No. 18 Toyota at some point in the future.
Johnson and Petty GMS Motorsports have had some fun with the fans trying to guess which number he will ultimately run on his new car next year.
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is scheduled to begin on Sunday, February 19 with the 65th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Fox is set to broadcast the race live beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.