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Jimmie Johnson found way to ‘smile and work through’ final season

Photo by Melany Aylor/TRE

AVONDALE, Ariz. — It may not be the final season he hoped for, but Jimmie Johnson wrapped up his 19-year full-time Cup Series career with a Top-5 showing in the Season Finale 500 Sunday (Nov. 8th) at Phoenix Raceway.

After leading four laps and finishing fifth, Johnson will remember most about the race weekend will be teammate Chase Elliott picking up his first Cup Series title.

“To watch him grow up and to be around him and to give him some advice from time to time has really been meaningful for me,” Johnson said to The Racing Experts. “Today I think more about him winning a championship more than anything is pretty awesome.”

Johnson said 2020 had rock-bottom moments, including mistakes, bad luck on the track and missing the Brickyard 400 after a positive COVID-19 test.

“There were just many lows that kept rolling,” Johnson said. “When I thought that was it, there was another low. I just had to figure out how to put a smile on my face, what was important to me and what 2020 was going to be like, regardless of the way things took place on the track. I really hit that stride.

Photo by Erick Messer/TRE

“It doesn’t mean I didn’t pout from time to time because performance on track really sets your mood for the week, but I found a way to smile and work through it and finish strong.”

The 2020 season for the Hendrick Motorsports will end with 35 starts, five Top-5 finishes, 10 Top-10 finishes, 107 laps led and 18th overall in final points.
Johnson will end his full-time NASCAR career tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most championships in the series at seven.

Johnson’s 83 wins will solidify him for sixth all-time on the wins list, tied with three-time series champion Cale Yarborough.

With his Top-5 effort in Phoenix, Johnson will end his career with 232 Top-5 finishes, which breaks a tie with Lee Petty for 10th all-time in that category.


Dominic Aragon View All

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