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‘A chance of a lifetime’: Jimmie Johnson, Petty GMS announce partnership

AVONDALE, ARIZ. — “A chance of a lifetime” will be coming true for Jimmie Johnson as he announced Friday he has bought a stake in Petty-GMS Motorsports.

The partnership positions seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Jimmie Johnson and Richard Petty as co-owners of the Maury Gallagher majority-owned team.

“Things escalated quickly,” Johnson said on what changed between the end of the 2020 season and Friday’s announcement, which each happened at Phoenix Raceway.

Jimmie Johnson’s agent also represents Erik jones and he encouraged Johnson to contact Maury Gallagher regarding a partnership, saying there would be some benefits for both sides to work out a deal.

Johnson will reap at least one benefit come February as he’ll attempt the Daytona 500 in his first Cup attempt since the November 2020 finale at Phoenix.

His car number wasn’t announced Friday but the seven-time Cup champion joked that Rick Hendrick almost wants to give him the 48.

Hendrick released the following statement after Johnson’s announcement:

“This is a tremendous day for our sport. Jimmie is one of the all-time great champions on the racetrack, and I know he’ll apply the same mentality to his role as a team owner. When he sets his mind to something, the level of commitment and work ethic he brings is unsurpassed. Seeing Jimmie in a firesuit with his name on the roof of a Chevrolet in the Daytona 500 is going to be very special for a lot of people. Competing against him will certainly be a change, and a big challenge, but we welcome his return to NASCAR and look forward to the next chapter of a truly remarkable career.”

Johnson has been rumored as a driver of the Hendrick Motorsports Garage 56 entry for LeMans in 2023. On racing that car, he said, “My schedule is nice and open in June and I hope it stays that way.”

Johnson’s schedule isn’t 100% set for any series as he’s “yet to cross the bridge” of figuring out running the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro or the Indy 500-Coke 600 double. He previously stated he intends to run 8-10 “bucket list” races.

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