Next season could be the last for NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson

FONTANA, CA - MARCH 15: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, climbs into his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 15, 2019 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Will Jimmie Johnson still have the desire to race after his current contract runs out after the 2020 season?

A lot depends on whether Johnson is still competitive behind the wheel.

Hendrick Motorsports took a step toward improving the performance of the seven-time champion’s No. 48 team by replacing crew chief Kevin Meendering with former race engineer Cliff Daniels in a move announced Monday.

But Johnson, who turns 44 on September 17, will reserve judgment on his future. Currently, Johnson is 17th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings, in danger of missing the Playoffs for the first time in his career. His winless streak has grown to 80 races, by far the longest drought of his career.

“I’m here through next season, and that’s when my contract will run out,” Johnson said on Saturday at Watkins Glen International, site of Sunday’s Go Bowling at the Glen (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). “I’ve got to make a decision at that point if I want to continue on.

“If my fire goes out, or if I feel like I’m not competitive… I think any driver would say that, if you feel like you’re not competitive, it’s time to walk away. I’m only under contract through next year, and I certainly have less years ahead of me than I ever have in my career, so part of my decision-making process, that will play a role, if I feel like I’m doing my job right behind the wheel.”