Jimmie Johnson has dropped his “Chasing 8” motto ahead of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, adopting an alternative that he says will put less pressure on him throughout his last full-time campaign in the series.
Johnson is a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, a distinction he shares with Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. He began using the ‘#Chasing8’ hashtag in 2017 on his social media posts as he mounted an effort to secure his eighth championship and take the record for the most Cup Series titles, but this year he’ll be using a different motto: ‘One Last Time’.
“Through reflecting back since I made the (November retirement) announcement it just kind of dawned on me — the more I thought about it, I never chased anything,” Johnson told The Washington Post in a recent interview. “One final time just felt like the correct thing to say and now we’ve struck the chasing eight from everything and one final time just fits well.”
Johnson’s downtrodden attitude about his recent Cup Series seasons is understandable. He raced his way to a championship in 2016 and started the 2017 season off strong, but faded in the standings after taking a win at Dover early that year. His Dover 2017 win was also the last time The No. 48 Chevrolet was in victory lane, with the Hendrick Motorsports driver going winless in both 2018 and 2019. He also failed to make the playoffs either year.
“It was definitely frustrating [not making the playoffs], I was angry, embarrassed, all of those things,” Johnson told WaPo. “One thing that helped me with all of it is it didn’t happen at once. I knew in my heart of hearts, it was months prior to that where the real opportunity lied and where we missed it.”
He remains confident ahead of 2020, though, and is eager to continue working with crew chief Cliff Daniels. Johnson also told WaPo that he is buoyed by the introduction of the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE NASCAR Cup Series body, as well, which has been introduced to help Chevy teams compete with the Ford Mustang and the Toyota Camry.
“I want to give 100% and through reflection, I know I can do that in 2020, knowing what I can give and what level I want to give it,” Johnson said. “It just feels right.”
Source: The Washington Post