USA TODAY US Edition
Johnson, Hendrick extend contract
Jimmie Johnson and the familiar No. 48 Lowe’s paint schemes will be under the Hendrick Motorsports umbrella for at least two more NASCAR Sprint Cup seasons.
“I’m employed for two more years!” Johnson tweeted Monday, confirming the news originally reported by The Associated Press.
Hendrick later released a statement, saying Johnson and Lowe’s had signed a two-year contract extension through 2017. The statement also indicated crew chief Chad Knaus — who some had speculated might be ready to leap to TV — had signed a separate deal through 2018. Thus continues one of the most successful partnerships in NASCAR. Knaus and Lowe’s came on board with Johnson in 2001.
“My relationship with Lowe’s and Hendrick Motorsports means so much,” Johnson said in the release. “This is my home, and I’m looking forward to many more victories together as a team.”
Johnson has four victories this year and enters the Chase for the Sprint Cup as the No. 1 seed. A seventh title would tie the alltime record held by NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. The Chase kicks off Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway.
Hendrick padded Johnson’s stake in his car dealerships as part of this new extension, something he had done previously with drivers Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., according to the AP.