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Less than a week after Kyle Busch claimed his second title in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, seven-time MENCS champion Jimmie Johnson announced that the 2020 season would be his last year to compete full-time in the series. 

The Hendrick Motorsports driver took his first green flag in the series at the age of 25 on October 7, 2001 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and will make his 652nd start in the series when he begins his final year at Daytona Motor Speedway in February.                

During that span which includes eighteen full time seasons, the California native has carved out a hall of fame career that now has his name on every page of the record book. 

He has his name forever linked to two of the greatest names in the history of the sport as his seven MENCS championships ties him with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt as the drivers with the most titles in the sport’s history. 

His seven titles includes a record five straight championships from 2006 through 2010.               

His 83 career Cup Series wins ties him for sixth-most on the all-time list with Cale Yarborough and only one win behind Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison who are tied for fourth on the all-time list with 84. 

His 16 consecutive seasons of winning at least one race between 2002-2017 ties him for third-longest streak all-time.                                           

A closer look at his wins shows the real dominance of his career as his 47 wins between 2002-2009 made him the winningest driver of the decade and he followed that up with 36 wins between 2010-2019 which made him the third-winningest driver of that decade. 

He has posted wins on 20 of the 25 Cup Series tracks where he raced with 28 wins coming on the 1.5-mile tracks which ranks most of all- time.                                                       

Included in his win totals are some of the biggest races on the entire MENCS schedule.  He has multiple wins in all of what the sport calls the Crown Jewels in the Series. 

He has two wins in the Daytona 500 (2006, 2013), four wins in Charlotte’s Coca-Cola 600 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2014), four win in Indianapolis’ Brickyard 400 ( 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012) and two wins in Darlington’s Southern 500 (2004, 2012).                                                       

While his win and championship totals tell of his dominance in the sport, where he finished when he wasn’t winning speaks volumes of just how competitive he has been throughout his career. 

He has posted 46 runner-up finishes, 227 top-five finishes and 364 top-10 finishes which has him finishing in the top-ten in over half of the races that he competed.                               

Johnson’s success has not only spanned throughout the years of his career but throughout the different formats that the governing body has used to crown its champion. 

He holds the record for consecutive playoff appearances with 15, all of which were consecutive from 2004-2018. 

During that span he won titles under the 10-race Chase and the 16-driver elimination format that is currently being used.                                                       

Johnson has struggled the last couple of seasons as he gone 95 races since he took his last checkered flag at the June 2017 race at Pocono.  When the new season begins at Daytona in February, he will have one more season to add to his win total and if that happens, he will get to end his career going for his eighth title.                                           

Steve Mickey writes about NASCAR for HD Media