Believe it or not a lot of fans think so and while Johnson has been able to pull himself out of some pretty dire situations in the past, he is now outside the top-16 and points and just had Lowe’s announce that this would be their last season with him. With that being said, fans are wondering if he will still be a title contender this season and whether he will retire or not.
Fortunately for fans of the seven-time Cup Series champion, Johnson answered the hard questions at Auto Club Speedway this week and while he still has a lot of work to do to make a championship run this season, fans can rest assured that The Hendrick Motorsports all-star will not be retiring anytime soon.
“Oh, the desire to keep racing is absolutely there,” Johnson told reporters “Races, championships, and being a part of this great sport of ours; I’m going to be around for a while. I’m excited about that. … This is really a unique opportunity. It’s a great learning and growing opportunity for myself. When I started at age 25 and Lowe’s came on board, it was an entirely different environment.”
He also talked about the end of his 18 year relationship with the home improvement chant, Lowes’ which saw him through all seven of his champions, everyone of his wins in The Cup Series and two Daytona 500’s While Johnson was saddened by the end of his partnership with the store, he seemed pretty optimistic about the future.
“First of all, what a run to have an 18-year relationship with such an amazing company,” he said. “The friendships, the relationships, the way we’ve been able to deliver to their marketing efforts, the history we’ve made in our own sport, the chance I had to even drive a Cup car because of them. There are so many levels to it that I am very, very thankful for and proud of. Of course, I wish we could finish it out together, but that’s not the circumstance. But then, to look forward, I’m very optimistic about the future and myself and our race team.”
“I guess maybe it’s the eternal optimist that I am. I have more to do and I enjoy the process and Hendrick is home and retirement hasn’t been on my mind. Johnson stated later,” I want to win. I want to win an eighth championship. … I’m the elder statesman in a company with three young guys. If I was to have this be the end, put Hendrick Motorsports in a very awkward position and I don’t know. There are just a lot of different ways I could look at it and say that it’s the absolute wrong time.
In the end, it’s probably a good idea that Johnson squashes these questions now and focus on the task at hand. Unfortunately for the 42-year-old California native, he now needs to back his above words up by actually being competitive again. which could be a tough task with Ford’s dominance so far this season.