Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will have to give up the 13th starting position and start in the rear for Sunday's Cup race following a spin into the grass Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.
As the auto spun, the seven-time champion was able to keep it away from the outside wall, but the No. 48 shot toward the infield, and the splitter dug into the grass as soon as the vehicle left the asphalt. Lowe's has been the primary sponsor for Johnson in each of his 557 career Cup starts. Johnson leads all Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers with three wins in 2017 and is on the short list of real championship contenders right now - of course.
"I've said it many times, I'm very content with where I'm at in the race auto and just truly enjoy competing and love being on the track", Johnson said. Since joining the organization in 2002, Johnson has only known one team, one sponsor, and one crew chief.
Crew chief Chad Knaus has another year on his deal, but did not announce an extension in alliance with the other players of the deal on Friday. "Certainly, would love to climb further up the ladder there".
"I just know that I've got 3 more years of trying to go out there and win championships and win races".
"Eight championships, I would love to stand alone at that", Johnson said.
He's tied for sixth on the career list with 83 wins - one behind Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip and 10 behind Gordon. "Sitting in closed-door meetings I know that there is a lot of options being explored and I know in Rick's heart that it's all to put the best four cars on the race track for Hendrick Motorsports and win races and championships. I couldn't be more proud to represent everyone at Lowe's and Hendrick Motorsports, and I continue to be as grateful for the opportunity as I was when we started".
In 16 full seasons, Johnson has rocketed to the top of the sport.
"I feel like we all evolve as individuals through our professional life, personal life and figuring out how to balance the stress of professional life, especially and then the challenges of personal life and being a father too", Johnson said.