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Jimmie Johnson signs three-year extension, and the sky is the limit

Posted On Friday, 16 June 2017 11:16 Written by
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BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Some bad news for the Cup series competition was announced on Friday: Jimmie Johnson isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

He'll remain in the No. 48 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports for at least three more years, having signed through 2020. Lowe's will also remain on the 48 car through 2018, and Chad Knaus is returning in 2018.

So why is Jimmie sticking around when some of his contemporaries, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards, are calling it quits?
"I truly enjoy competing and love being on the track, " Johnson said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. " A three-year extension makes me smile and I can't wait to get out on the track"

Regarding retirement talk, Johnson isn't saying that 2020 will be his final year.
"I've said it before and continue to say that when the fire does go out I will step down. I don't have any framework now on a timeline," he explained. "I'm as hungry as I've every been. We'll see how these three years go."

With a couple other Hendrick teams likely to see changes in the near future (the 88 will have a new driver after Earnhardt retires this year, and the 5 car will likely see a new driver in the next year or two; leaving the 48 and 24 as the more stable entities), Johnson said he is confident things will still be strong for the team overall through the next few years.
"It's hard to tell where it's going to go, but my faith is in Rick," he said.

Regarding Knaus, Jimmie isn't anticipating a change at crew chief after the 2018 season.
"I started this with him and I want to finish this with him. I'll do my best to keep him around as long as I can," Johnson said.

So what does Jimmie hope to accomplish in the next few years?
"I'm not driven by stats, but I would like to climb up the wins ladder; more championships would be great. But really, I just love to race. The experience with Chad and my team, and being on the track, that bond and experience is a high I've chased my entire career. It's all about my experience in the car"

Looking at those stats, it's quite measurable to see what is possible. With 83 wins, that number could easily climb well into the 90s before Jimmie retires, putting him as high as third on the all time wins list behind Richard Petty and David Pearson.

With seven titles under his belt, Johnson could easily earn an 8th title and be the all-time leader in championships. Heck, he could get nine or 10 if he keeps up the level he's at through the contract.
That's pretty stunning, but not out of the realm of possibliity.

And that means the competition needs to step up their game, as the guy who's team has been the best in the garage for most of the past decade-plus -- like him or not -- is still going to be someone they all need to pass if they are going to win races and championshiops.

Matt Myftiu can be reached on Twitter @MattMyftiu. AutoTechReviews can be reached on Twitter @AutoTechReview. You can email Matt Myftiu at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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