Hendrick Motorsports and defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson have agreed to a three-year extension that will keep one of the most accomplished drivers in history behind the wheel through 2020.
In addition, Lowe’s Companies Inc. has extended its longstanding relationship with Hendrick Motorsports after signing an agreement that will continue its full-season, 38-race primary sponsorship of Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS team through 2018.
Johnson, 41, earned his record-tying seventh Cup Series championship in 2016, matching NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the most all-time.
“My relationship with Lowe’s, Hendrick Motorsports and all of my teammates means so much to me,” said Johnson, who has recorded three wins through 14 Cup races this season. “I remember hoping to just win one race. Winning seven championships and 83 races was inconceivable, and now we have the opportunity to do even more together. It says a lot to have one sponsor, one crew chief and one team for so long. 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.”
Launched in 2001 when Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet debuted in the Cup Series with a limited three-race schedule, the sponsor-driver-team relationship has become one of the most successful in NASCAR history. Lowe’s, whose NASCAR involvement dates back to its first car sponsorship in 1960, has been Johnson’s primary sponsor for each of his 557 career Cup starts. The Team Lowe’s Racing program is now in its 16th full-time season.
“It’s been amazing to ride alongside Jimmie, Hendrick Motorsports and the No. 48 team as we continue to make history in the sport,” said Julie Cunnyngham, director of marketing at Lowe’s. “We look forward to more great moments and unique opportunities to reach fans -- on and off the track -- together.”
Led by crew chief Chad Knaus, the No. 48 Lowe’s team has scored at least two race wins in each of its 16 full-time seasons (2002-2017). Johnson’s total of 83 points-paying victories since his 2002 rookie campaign is the most in the series during that span and ranks him sixth on NASCAR’s all-time wins list, tied with the legendary Cale Yarborough. Through 2016, the El Cajon, California, native posted an average of 5.3 wins per year and an average championship points finish of 3.4.
“Jimmie is one of the best to ever drive,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We’re so fortunate to have him as part of our organization, and I feel even luckier to call him a friend. He’s a great champion, a terrific advocate for Lowe’s and a true ambassador for NASCAR. There’s no better person, and he’s as good in the race car today as he’s ever been.
“It’s such an incredible success story. Without our partnership with Lowe’s, it never would’ve happened. Jimmie was the perfect driver. Chad was the perfect person to lead the team. Every piece of the puzzle just fell into place. It’s been an unbelievable experience to watch it all unfold, and we’ve still got more work to do.”