Jimmie Johnson

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is returning to the sport in a big way, buying an ownership stake in Petty GMS Motorsports.

The Athletic’s Jordan Bianchi reported the surprising news Wednesday night, adding that Johnson will also run select races for the team. An announcement is expected this week.

The 47-year-old Johnson has not raced in NASCAR since the 2020 season. His seven NASCAR Cup Series championships are tied for the most in history, and he has 83 career wins in NASCAR’s top series, tied for sixth all-time.

Johnson spent the last two years racing in the IndyCar Series but did not record a victory. He announced last month he was stepping away from driving full-time, leading to speculation about his future plans.

Petty GMS Motorsports currently fields two cars in the NASCAR Cup Series, the No. 42 Chevrolet for Ty Dillon and the No. 43 Chevrolet for Erik Jones. The team began operation in late 2021 after GMS Racing team owner Maury Gallagher purchased a majority interest in Richard Petty Motorsports. The legendary Petty, now 85, retains an interest in the team.

NASCAR fans expressed surprise at the news, with some saying they might have expected him to do something of this nature at Hendrick Motorsports, where he spent his entire NASCAR career.

[Jordan Bianchi, The Athletic]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.