Jimmie Johnson is not only returning to the NASCAR circuit next year, but he’ll do so as a Cup Series owner.
Petty GMS announced Friday morning at Phoenix Raceway that it has entered into an ownership agreement with the seven-time champion. As part of the deal, Johnson will get back behind the wheel in a select number of events. Johnson’s first race will be the Daytona 500 on February 19, while the others will be announced at a later date. Johnson won the Daytona 500 in 2006, one of his 83 career wins.
“I couldn’t be happier to have Jimmie Johnson joining Petty GMS,” said Maury Gallagher “We have been consistent since we began our Cup effort last year in wanting to be up front and have a winning program. No-one in the modern era of NASCAR has won more than Jimmie. Having a driver, the caliber of Jimmie, driving our equipment, and being able to provide feedback to our crew chiefs and engineers but most importantly, mentoring Erik (Jones) and Noah (Gragson) will be invaluable.
“Perhaps most important of all, Jimmie will be a great partner. I know I speak for all the Petty GMS team members, including Richard Petty, in welcoming Jimmie to the team. No-one else will be able to say they have two seven-time Cup champions on their team. We are looking to make a strong statement next year and show that we are here to contend for wins and championships. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.”
Johnson has not run a Cup Series race since 2020 when he wrapped up his full-time NASCAR career with Hendrick Motorsports. After turning over the No. 48 Chevrolet, Johnson spent the last two seasons running in the NTT IndyCar Series along with IMSA endurance events.
“It’s great to be back in NASCAR,” Johnson said. “When the IndyCar season ended, I started on this journey of what was next. Maury and I connected, this opportunity came to light, and it’s the perfect fit for me. Team ownership makes so much sense at this stage of my career, and after spending time with Maury and his family, talking with Mike (Beam), Dave (Elenz, crew chief of the No. 43), and Joey (Cohen, Director of Competition and Engineering), I realized this was something I wanted to be involved with from both the business perspective and on the competition side.
“If I’m going to commit to something like this, I want to make a difference and have something tangible to show for it when it’s all said and done. So, this opportunity with Petty GMS is all of that and much more.”
Petty GMS will field a third car for Johnson alongside Erik Jones in the No. 43 Chevrolet and incoming Noah Gragson in the No. 42 Chevrolet. Johnson’s car number, partnerships, and paint schemes will be announced at a later date.
“I’m fortunate that I had incredible mentors throughout my life, and I’ve always tried to pay that forward,” said Johnson. “My experience and energy will add value to a team with young drivers like Erik and Noah – I feel like I can be a good resource both on and off the track.”
The 2023 season will be the second full year for Petty GMS, which was founded in 2021 when Gallagher bought a majority stake in Richard Petty Motorsports.
“What an exciting time for Petty GMS,” said Petty. “This year, we’ve accomplished so much together with Maury, and now adding Jimmie will only continue to help us grow. To have Jimmie – another seven-time champion – as a part of the team, and his abilities both on track and off will be special for Petty GMS. I’m looking forward to having him as a part of our team and seeing what we can build together.”