On Friday morning, Ally announced that they will lengthen their relationship with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2023 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. The deal will keep the No. 48 Chevrolet pretty well funded for the next four seasons.
But, Johnson’s contract only goes through 2020. Does this deal mean Johnson will race though 2023 too?
“I haven’t made any decisions at this point,” said Johnson on Friday at the Dover International Speedway. “I’m very, very excited that Ally has signed this extension with Hendrick. I think it speaks to the strength of our sport, strength and relationship with Hendrick Motorsports. I know everybody would like for me to be in the car in 2023 and even past that, but I just haven’t made that decision yet.”
Johnson, 44, didn’t want his personal contract to get in the way of such good news for the team, so he made sure that his future plans didn’t distract the extension from Ally.
“I certainly didn’t want to stand in the way of this great news coming out,” Johnson continued. “As this came down the pipeline, I knew I would be in a position to answer a lot of questions that would come with it, but I just felt it was such great news, I had to support Hendrick to get this news out right away and Ally as well, just great for our sport and industry. I don’t have anything to say at this time and I’m going to take every day that I can get from Mr. Hendrick to make this decision.”
Johnson, made note that there will be many factors to whether he will return in 2022 and beyond. He hasn’t visited victory lane in 88 races. That’s a career long. He also didn’t make the playoffs for the first time of his NASCAR career this season too. Since he won the championship in 2016, his stats have declined each year.
“There’s a lot of things to look at with the Gen 7 car coming (in 2021), with the way our team is performing and what we’re building, I might want to go longer than 2023,” said Johnson, who seeks his 84th career Cup win this weekend at Dover International Speedway. “I just don’t know. I have not put much time and effort into it. There have been many other things to deal with and look at.
“These things in the past, a contract renewal would usually start in the spring of the year the contract would end. Based on past experience, I would say that probably spring next year is when I would really get pressure to make a decision if I was going to return in 2021.”