Asked about potential new sponsors for his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson seemed positively nonchalant.
“We have six ready to go—we’re just waiting for you guys to ask us when,” the seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion quipped during a Thursday question-and-answer session with reporters at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “It’s going really well. We will hopefully have something to announce in the near future.
“But the excitement about the No. 48 car, the multiple companies that are interested and the ideas and the ways that people would like to use us are very exciting and encouraging.”
Earlier this year, Lowe’s told team owner Rick Hendrick it would end its 17-year tenure as primary sponsor of Johnson’s car. The home improvement giant has been with Johnson through his record-tying seven championships and 83 Cup victories, most by far among active drivers and tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough, one of Johnson’s childhood heroes, for sixth all-time.
“Of course, we don’t want to see Lowe’s leave,” Johnson said. “We’ve had such an amazing run with them, and there’s a little bit of fear associated with such a big sponsor and such an integral part of Hendrick Motorsports leaving, but the response has been very strong and very well.
“When Mr. Hendrick makes his decision and we’re able to kind of ink what opportunities are out there, obviously those announcements will be made, but things have been going very well.”
It’s no wonder sponsors are eager to discuss opportunities with Johnson’s camp. If Johnson happens to win an eighth title after 2018—breaking a tie with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr.—an inordinate degree of attention would accrue to the company on the hood of the No. 48 car when that happens.
An eighth championship aside, Johnson is all but certain to eclipse the 84 victories attained by NASCAR Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison. Johnson’s current contract with Hendrick extends through the 2020 season.