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Racecar driver Jimmie Johnson's storied NASCAR career came to an end on Sunday in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship.
Johnson, 45, drove in his final race as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.
The athlete had a nearly two-decade career with NASCAR and is the only driver in NASCAR Cup Series history that has won five consecutive championships. According to NASCAR.com, Johnson won seven total NASCAR Cup Series championships, as well as 83 series races ahead of Sunday's championship.
— Phoenix Raceway (@phoenixraceway) November 8, 2020
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) November 8, 2020
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) November 8, 2020
The racer initially announced his retirement last November, saying at the time, "The sport has been good to me. It has allowed me to do something I truly love."
In an interview ahead of his final run, Johnson reflected on his career to ESPN.
Johnson — who was positive for coronavirus, himself, earlier this year — admitted that COVID-19 restrictions changed how he imagined his final season with NASCAR would go.
"It's a little hard to say that you feel robbed of being celebrated and having your ass kissed for a year, because that's not me," he told the outlet. "But I have felt bad for my die-hard fans. There's a bitter taste in their mouth about all of this, not being at the track to see me off."
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The only man that I have watched the sunrise with multiple times, we had always wanted to close the book together.
The day has come, my friend.
Let’s go race like hell and see what happens on the other side.
Much love #OneFinalTime pic.twitter.com/0is3T4C4wr
— Chad Knaus (@chadknaus) November 8, 2020
It has been a pleasure watching your journey and look forward to the next chapter. Going to be a roller coaster ride of emotion today. Enjoy every second! https://t.co/GtEhsPDQTH
— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) November 8, 2020
To the guy I’ve idolized. To the guy I geeked out over at DIS when filling in the 43 in 2017. To the guy that’s been all class on n off the track. To the guy who called me just about every day during the madness of this season. To the guy I’m honored to call friend. Thanks JJ!🤘🏾 pic.twitter.com/rnJ0GucbxG
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) November 8, 2020
The athlete said NASCAR has given him "opportunities that I never dreamed of."
"I have a lot more of those opportunities coming. I don't know where all it will take me, where it will take my family, but that's the exciting part."
Johnson's time behind the wheel isn't quite over yet, though. He's preparing for an IndyCar Series debut in March 2021.