A say in his successor? Jimmie Johnson claims ‘a little bit’ of involvement in No. 48 decision

One of the biggest unresolved personnel moves ahead of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season remains: Who will replace seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson in Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 48 Chevrolet?

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The question for Johnson in a Friday teleconference with reporters was whether he had any say in the matter. Johnson’s answer: Some.

“I’ve been involved a little bit,” Johnson said. “It’s a big decision for the company and for our sponsor, Ally, so the weight really lies in their hands and the direction they want to take things. So I’ve had a little interaction, but nothing too in-depth, but I fully believe in Hendrick Motorsports and the decision they make, who they decide to put in the car and of course, Ally goes along with that as well.”

The question has lingered ever since Johnson formally announced last November that his full-time racing career would end after the 2020 campaign. Back then, team owner Rick Hendrick demurred, joking that Jeff Gordon would come out of retirement as Johnson’s successor.

Johnson’s immediate goal is to qualify for the NASCAR Playoffs and a shot at a record eighth series championship in Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Daytona International Speedway.

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