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AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 09: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 09, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson says “opportunity could be there” to return in 2021 UPDATE

UPDATE: Talking to the media Thursday morning, Jimmie Johnson was asked again if he was reconsidering retirement.

"For me in my final year in a Cup car, I feel more for the fans that wanted to see me at their track and experience that and have it. I know where I am and I’m very content and fulfilled with the career I’ve had. Sure, I want to be on track. Sure, I want to go to these places a final time. I feel more for the fans that aren’t having that opportunity right now that I long for myself to experience it and to be there, if that makes any sense. And that’s only a small piece in the grand scheme of things when you look at all the individuals that are affected by the Coronavirus and the families that have been affected, and the economy, and businesses and business owners. This is way bigger than me and way bigger than what was going to be my final time at these tracks. So, that stuff hasn’t really even crossed my mind, honestly, is why I bring it up. There have been so many other issues at-hand to think about and be concerned with, that I haven’t thought much at all about it being my final year and what I might be missing for myself. It’s been more about others and more about the fans and what I see on my social thread, I see people that have been lifelong fans that are sad they don’t get to see me run. So, it’s been about others far more than it’s been about what affect this has had on me, personally."

— Team Chevy —

Original post 4-2-2020: NASCAR has maintained that it will do whatever it can to get all 36 races races in this season – double-headers, mid-week races, whatever – despite only having four so far. But the future for everyone is uncertain, so hypothetically, if NASCAR can’t get a full season in this year, would Johnson consider postponing his retirement season until 2021?

"I don’t know," the 44-year-old driver told For The Win by phone from his North Carolina home. "I wouldn’t know yet."

The No. 48 Chevrolet driver also said he hasn’t thought about that hypothetical situation yet.

"Honestly, I feel like Mr. Hendrick doesn’t want to see me step away yet, Ally is signed up through 2023 – there are all these things that are there that I think would give me the opportunity to do it," Johnson said when pressed about the idea of coming back in 2021 for what would hopefully be a normal season.

"But I haven’t had any of those discussions. I think the opportunity could be there for me. We’ll just have to see how things unfold."

USA Today