Jimmie Johnson Sets First NASCAR Race of 2023 Season

Jimmie Johnson

Getty Jimmie Johnson has announced the date of his NASCAR return.

On November 4, Jimmie Johnson announced that he would join Petty GMS as an owner. He also revealed his first start of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season as he takes on a limited schedule.

The seven-time champion sat down at Phoenix Raceway with “The King” Richard Petty, Petty GMS owner Maury Gallagher and team president Mike Beam for the special announcement. He provided some details about his move into NASCAR ownership, and he confirmed that he will be back in the driver’s seat to kick off the 2023 Cup Series season.

“I do want to run a limited schedule next year in the NASCAR Cup Series,” Johnson said during his media availability. “And we can confirm today that we will kick that off [with] the Daytona 500. So more to come. We do know that race, but again, there’s still lots to be sorted out and we hope to have more exciting announcements down the road.”

Johnson Has Success at Daytona International Speedway

Jimmie Johnson

GettyJimmie Johnson prepares for the 2020 Daytona 500.

Having Johnson return to the Florida superspeedway for his first start since 2020 is fitting. He has achieved success at Daytona International Speedway during his career, and he has added Crown Jewels to his collection.

Johnson made 38 starts during his full-time Cup Series career, a run that started with him winning the pole award in 2002. He then went on to win the 2006 Daytona 500, the 2013 Daytona 500, and the 2013 Coke Zero 400.

The seven-time champion came close to winning more races at Daytona International Speedway during his career. He finished fifth in the 2015 Daytona 500, second in the 2015 Coke Zero 400, and third in the 2019 Coke Zero 400. Now he will have another opportunity to pursue a win at the track while making his Next Gen debut.

Some Questions Still Need Answers

Jimmie Johnson

GettyJimmie Johnson waves to fans in Las Vegas.

While Johnson has revealed when he will make his return to the NASCAR Cup Series, he has not provided some important answers. This is mostly due to the deal coming together fairly recently. He just hasn’t had enough time to work through some details.

One of the biggest questions remaining focuses on the door number. Johnson drove the No. 48 during his Cup Series career, and he used that number after moving over to the IndyCar Series. However, the No. 48 remains at Hendrick Motorsports with Alex Bowman.

Johnson said during the press conference that he doesn’t know which number he will use as he makes his return to the NASCAR Cup Series. He joked that Rick Hendrick will just give it to him and that he will make it up to Bowman by driving his sprint car for a while.

The other question focuses on the races where Johnson will compete. He hasn’t provided a set list other than saying that he will take on the Daytona 500 and that he would like to compete in the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Though Richard Petty joked that he will take on the races with the biggest purses.

For now, Johnson will prepare for his return to NASCAR and his first start in the Next Gen car. He and Petty GMS will make more announcements in the future as they work on the details throughout the offseason.

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