One of the most prolific partnerships in NASCAR history is sticking together for a little while longer.
On Friday, Hendrick Motorsports announced that seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson had signed a contract extension with the team to keep him behind the wheel of the No. 48 Chevrolet through the 2020 season.
Johnson’s long-time sponsor, Lowe’s also re-upped their contract for another year as their colors will adorn the side of Johnson’s car for all 38 races through 2018.
“My relationship with Lowe’s, Hendrick Motorsports and all of my teammates means so much to me,” said Johnson. “I remember hoping to just win one race. Winning seven championships and 83 races was inconceivable, and now we have the opportunity to do even more together. It says a lot to have one sponsor, one crew chief and one team for so long. I couldn’t be more proud to represent everyone at Lowe’s and Hendrick Motorsports, and I continue to be as grateful for the opportunity as I was when we started.”
Beginning with a limited schedule in 2001, Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus, and Lowe’s have been together ever since, racking up an astonishing seven championships, 83 wins, 221 top-five finishes, 335 top-10 finishes, 35 poles, 18618 laps led, and an average finish of 12.2 over his 557 career starts in NASCAR’s top division.
Currently, Johnson sits sixth on the all-time wins list, tied with Cale Yarborough and one win behind Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. His seven titles also have him in a three way tie for the most championships with Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty.
“Jimmie is one of the best to ever drive,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We’re so fortunate to have him as part of our organization, and I feel even luckier to call him a friend. He’s a great champion, a terrific advocate for Lowe’s and a true ambassador for NASCAR. There’s no better person, and he’s as good in the race car today as he’s ever been.
“It’s such an incredible success story. Without our partnership with Lowe’s, it never would’ve happened. Jimmie was the perfect driver. Chad was the perfect person to lead the team. Every piece of the puzzle just fell into place. It’s been an unbelievable experience to watch it all unfold, and we’ve still got more work to do.”
Through the first 14 races of the 2017 season, Johnson has already scored three wins at Texas, Bristol, and Dover, giving him the most wins of anyone thus far into the 36-race campaign.