Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson will retire from full-time racing after the 2020 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series concludes.
Johnson announced his retirement via a video circulated on social media Wednesday. The video was accompanied by a Twitter post that said only "#Chasing8 one final time" in a reference to his attempt to win an eighth Cup Series championship.
"I'm so thankful for 18 incredible years of racing in NASCAR. This sport has been good to me and has allowed me to do something I truly love. I showed up chasing a dream and achieved more than I ever thought possible," Johnson said in the video, adding that he is looking forward to next season, even though it will be his last as a full-time NASCAR driver.
Even if he were to retire today, Johnson's career has been nothing short of historic. He holds the record for the most consecutive Cup Series championships (five, from 2006 to 2010). He nabbed his sixth in 2013 and his seventh in 2016. He is one of only three drivers with seven Cup Series championships; the other two are Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt.
Like Petty and Earnhardt, Johnson won all seven of his championships racing for the same team—in his case, driving the #48 Chevrolet of Hendrick Motorsports. He has started in more than 650 races so far in his career and won 83 of them.
Johnson's farewell message leaves open the possibility of racing in other series or returning for high-profile events. Johnson is only 44, and could have plenty of gas left in the tank if the right opportunity comes along.