While the NASCAR world is rejoiced by the return of Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
Johnson retired from full-time Cup Racing back in 2020 but has now returned to the series in a driver/owner position for Legacy Motor Club. He will drive the No. 84 Chevrolet for select races this season.
When Johnson retired, he kept the doors open for a NASCAR return but many didn’t expect it to be this soon. Nonetheless, the seven-time Cup champion is back in the sports top-tier and fans are happy to see the legendary driver race in the series again.
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However, not everyone is happy with his return. While Joe Gibbs Racing’s Hamlin has a lot of admiration for Johnson, he believes that this return will only tarnish Johnson’s legacy in NASCAR.
“I hate it,” Hamlin said. “I hate that he’s coming back just because as the guy I just put on this pedestal, like unbeatable. Just super talented like he was the guy. And like I always said, I hate I raced in the Jimmie Johnson era. Like, damn it, I was so unfortunate. How many championships would I have if I didn’t have to race against him?
“I guess I don’t know what the motivation is for him because he’s got such a strong legacy and a strong resume. I hate tainting what I’m going to think about him if he comes in and struggles, which is the most likely scenario.”
If we look at the records, Johnson failed to win a race in the last three seasons he was in the Cup Series. However, he did record 10 top-10 finishes and five top-five finishes in his last season.
While he might be past his best, but the chances of winning races cannot be ruled out for a driver who has achieved so much in the sports.