That would mark a nice even 20 seasons for the seven-time Cup Series champion if you count his cameo toward the end of the 2001 campaign. Now, he will have a few more seasons to check more accomplishments off his to-do list.
But was Friday's three-year contract announcement Johnson's final deal? In fact, in three of his last four races where he started in the rear, Johnson went on to win, that includes his championship win at Homestead last November.
"I think I've got another year to try to convince him", Johnson said.
While he is one of the elder statesmen of the NASCAR garage today, Johnson has not slowed down at all.
Johnson, 41, earned his record-tying seventh Cup Series championship in 2016, matching NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the most all-time. He continues to carry the banner for Hendrick Motorsports, being the only driver for the team to win points-paying races in the last two years.
"We have a lot of momentum right now and I think we brought a good vehicle again this weekend, so it would mean a lot to me", Jones said. Johnson, Hendrick and crew chief Chad Knaus have formed one of the most successful partnerships in any sport over the past 16 years, and the relentless consistency of the No. 48 auto has stood out even more of late. "I've said it so many times, but it's hard to ignore where I sit on the wins list and not let my competitive spirit kick in and want more". The company has served as the primary sponsor of Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet SS for 557 race starts, and has allowed him to get to know racers from various categories of racing.
"Jimmie is one of the best to ever drive", Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said in a statement.
In 16 full seasons, Johnson has rocketed to the top of the sport. "Instead of it being necessarily a statement and shown through a lifetime contract we have just had a handshake and agreement among friends that I've got a auto and I've always told him I'm never going anywhere". "Certainly, would love to climb further up the ladder there. Eight championships, I would love to stand alone at that".
"I remember hoping to just win one race", Johnson said.