CONCORD, N.C. -- Jimmie Johnson’s final race at Atlanta Motor Speedway as a full-time driver will be this weekend. The driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE said he loves the memories he’s made at the track, including the years when an Atlanta win helped secure a championship.
“I know if I was given the option to come back and race Atlanta down the road I’d take it,” Johnson said. “It’s just such a fun, fun racetrack with so much character. I’m sure at some point they’re going to have to pave it and it’s probably going to change. I just love racing there”
Atlanta notoriously has not repaved their track since 1997, making the asphalt worn and weathered. It offers a different experience to drivers and takes different strategy to navigate. For Johnson, the track has been a place of success – he’s had five wins, 14 top-five finishes and has led at the track for 586 laps.
Heading to Atlanta, Johnson is proud of how well the No. 48 has done this season. He has notched two top-five finishes and two other top-10s in nine races.
“Our team really is in solid shape. There’s a handful of core guys that have been with the team for a lot of years and it’s been an interesting journey,” Johnson said. “(We started) 2020 and we’re back stronger, but through the end of ’19 and ’20 there were some opportunities that vanished on us for whatever reason. … it’s been a very interesting, emotional ride. Just when we think we’ve had all something else happens.”
Johnson is in the midst of a 104 streak without a victory. Should he win this weekend it will mark the first time he’s won at Atlanta since 2016 – his last championship season.
“I really enjoyed that racetrack over the years. I’m looking forward to going back a final time,” Johnson said. “It will be different without the fans there – there’s no doubt. I certainly feel for my fans and for our sports fans that they can’t be there in person.
“Thankfully we are a sport that’s back and our fans can watch us on television and we’ll still be out there driving our hearts out and trying to put on the best show we possibly can.”