Jimmie Johnson and Lowe’s will end their long-standing partnership after this season.
Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday the home improvement company would not return as the primary sponsor of the No.48 Chevrolet next season.
Lowe’s, along with its Kobalt brand, has been the only primary sponsor Johnson has had in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Johnson made his premier series debut in the fall of 2001.
“Working with Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie, Chad [Knaus] and the entire No.48 team has been an incredible journey,” said Michael P. McDermott, Lowe’s chief customer officer, said in a team release. “Rick Hendrick and his organization have been exceptional partners, and we could not have asked for more from Jimmie – a consummate champion and an incredible representative for our brand and his sport.
“The No.48 team is a valuable property and has been an integral part of building the Lowe’s brand, which makes today’s decision difficult as we now look to invest in other strategic initiatives. Although we are evolving our strategy, there’s no question that being a part of seven championships and many history-making moments has been valuable for Lowe’s.”
Johnson is signed with HMS through the 2020 season.
In his 17th season with 583 starts to date, Johnson has 83 career wins in the Lowe’s colors. A two-time Daytona 500 and four-time Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis winner, along with victories in the Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500, the success of the same driver with the same crew chief and the same sponsor has been a constant in the sport. A record-tying seven championships have also put Johnson at the top of the NASCAR mountain.
“We are so appreciative of everyone at Lowe’s. They have been amazing partners,” said team owner Rick Hendrick. “With seven championships, this program has delivered far beyond what anyone could have imagined. It goes without saying that we will fully support Lowe’s and our program together in 2018 as we pursue another championship. The success of the relationship has been unbelievable.”
Lowe’s has been one of the few sponsors to fund the entire 38-race schedule. The 2019 season will be the first time Johnson has had races available for funding.
“I’ll always be grateful to Lowe’s for taking a chance on me and believing that I could win,” said Johnson. “I’m not sure what I’d be right now if they hadn’t committed to the No.48 team. It’s hard to see them move on, but we’ve made history together and celebrated so much success on and off the track. There’s still a lot left to do in 2018.
“I have more to accomplish in this sport. I feel the best I’ve ever felt physically. I’m motivated. I’m focused on winning races and chasing more championships. Someone [the new sponsor] will be a big part of writing that story with us. I’m not going anywhere.”