It came as a surprise when seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson announced his NASCAR return back in November.
He retired from full-time Cup racing back in the 2020 season. But there was always a feeling that it was not the last time that we have seen Johnson in the Cup Series. His return came sooner than expected though as the driver is set to take charge of the No. 84 Chevrolet for Legacy Motor Club in the 2023 season.
He has already run some laps in the Next Gen car during testing at Phoenix and now will be looking ahead to the Daytona 500 qualifying.
“Seat time is everything,” Johnson said after the test. “Drivers, teams, you try to do what you can in the sim, but being at the track is where you learn everything.
“To run a limited schedule with (the No. 84 team) that is running a limited schedule, we need to keep our expectations realistic about the job ahead of us. It’s a very competitive sport. A lot of great teams and drivers. I assume, as I continue to get more seat time in these cars, I’ll understand where to find speed and continue to make myself more competitive.”
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Johnson himself has also said that he would only be running a select number of races on his return. However, his recent Twitter post suggested that he has the option for a full-time schedule. The post read:
“My @NASCAR credentials came in, looks like I have “options” in 2023.”
My @NASCAR credentials came in, looks like I have “options” in 2023. pic.twitter.com/1xtNEyK6qs
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) January 27, 2023
It led to some confusion as many fans are believing that Johnson might actually run a full-time schedule in the 2023 Cup Series season. Since Johnson’s last full-time season came during the time of COVID, one fan pleaded with him to run full-time so that people can have a proper chance to see the NASCAR legend in action.