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NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson expected to make big return in 2023

Jimmie Johnson is expected to return to NASCAR as an owner/driver with Petty GMS Motorsports in 2023, according to The Athletic's Jordan Bianchi.

Austin Konenski
Syndication: The Des Moines Register and Jimmie Johnson
Reese Strickland/Special to the Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jimmie Johnson recently announced his retirement from full-time racing after spending two seasons in the NTT IndyCar Series after his departure from NASCAR in 2020.

However, shocking news has emerged about Johnson’s future in NASCAR, specifically.

Jimmie Johnson expected to join Petty GMS Motorsports as an owner in 2023

NASCAR: Cook Out Southern 500
Sep 4, 2022; Darlington, South Carolina, USA; Erik Jones, driver of the (43) FOCUS Factor Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the COOK OUT Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

According to The Athletic’s Jordan Bianchi, Johnson is finalizing a deal with Petty GMS Motorsports to become a partial owner starting next season. Bianchi states an announcement is expected this week.

The 47-year-old would make a significant jump in his career by acquiring an ownership stake in Petty GMS Motorsports. Johnson would join fellow seven-time champion Richard Petty within the ownership group if he sticks around.

The organization currently employs Ty Dillon in the No. 42 car and Erik Jones in the No. 43 car. Dillon will move to the No. 77 car for Spire Motorsports as Noah Gragson makes the full-time jump to the No. 42 car next season.

It’s not like Johnson would be joining an organization that can’t win either. Jones brought the No. 43 car back to victory lane in the first race of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs at Darlington Raceway.

This would certainly be an incredible move for the sport. Johnson would join Petty, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, and more as drivers who have moved into higher positions within organizations.

However, the good news does not stop there for Johnson and his fans as another major piece of news came out alongside his possible role as an owner.

Related: Jimmie Johnson retiring from full-time racing

Jimmie Johnson would compete in select NASCAR races in 2023

Syndication: Arizona Republic
Jimmie Johnson greets his wife and children after finishing during the Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz. on Nov. 8, 2020. NASCAR

Johnson is reportedly going to acquire an ownership stake within Petty GMS Motorsports but it would not be the only thing that happens if it occurs in the next week as expected.

The former Hendrick Motorsports driver would also drive in select races for his new organization, according to Bianchi. Johnson has not competed in NASCAR since the final race of the 2020 season.

Johnson’s return to NASCAR itself is a big deal but to add on another layer with select races would be absolutely massive. There are drivers in the field who have never competed against the seven-time champion.

The 47-year-old driver would be allowed to compete in select races because Petty GMS Motorsports only fields two entries. That is why Hendrick Motorsports would not work since they are at the limit of four entries.

Nothing has been announced on a possible car number but the No. 27 car would be a cool idea as Johnson and Petty represent two of NASCAR’s seven-time champions with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. being the other one.

This is a massive report for NASCAR as the sport has been grabbing a massive amount of attention after Ross Chastain’s video game-style move at Martinsville Speedway to make the Championship 4.

Johnson’s expected return would continue that momentum and develop even more excitement for the second season of the NextGen. Speaking of the NextGen car, it would be Johnson’s first appearance in the new vehicle.

Hopefully, the news reported on Wednesday night comes to frution and the seven-time NASCAR champion makes a big return to the sport. There are only positive outcomes to this situation as the 2022 season comes to a close soon.