FORT WORTH, Texas (April 8, 2020) - Jimmie Johnson's swan song in NASCAR hasn't exactly gone according to plan thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shutting down sporting events, but for all the fetes he's missed along the way so far, there's no postponing the calendar.
It's 4/8, Jimmie Johnson Day for the athlete who has brought the most fame to the number 48.
For Johnson, Texas Motor Speedway has been a playground of sorts. His seven Cup Series wins, 1,152 laps led, 16 top fives, and 22 top 10s are all track records, and each win has held a different significance for the 44-year-old.
Dickies 500 - Nov. 4, 2007
On the race's final pit stop, Johnson crew chief Chad Knaus called for four tires to Matt Kenseth's two. Johnson drove by with two laps to go to take the win, grabbing the Chase for the Championship lead over teammate Jeff Gordon on his way to back-to-back Cup Series titles.
Quotable: "I expected a good fight. I didn't think his two tires would last that long or he'd be that good. I'm just glad I was able to get by. There wasn't much time left to get it done."
AAA Texas 500 - Nov. 4, 2012
Five years to the day after his first triumph at TMS, Johnson led 168 laps and took advantage of a caution with five to go to secure the win over Brad Keselowski. Just like in 2007, Johnson's team took four tires on the last stop while Keselowski's opted for two, and it made all the difference.
Quotable: "It was an awesome race. The gloves are off, and it's bare knuckle fighting ... caution came out and got a great restart and got by him. Knew we had the speed if I could just get by him."
AAA Texas 500 - Nov. 3, 2013
He was as dominant as he'd ever been at Texas in winning back-to-back in the track's fall playoff race, leading 255 laps and winning by more than four seconds. He increased his championship lead from two to seven over Matt Kenseth, and would secure Cup Series title number six two weeks later.
Quotable: "I hope history doesn't repeat itself. That's the perfect example that this thing isn't over until it's over. Last year we had eight great races and two bad ones and didn't get the championship. Very important to finish strong and there are two very important races left."
AAA Texas 500 - Nov. 2, 2014
The race will always be remembered as the time Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski threw hands in Texas, but it was the already-eliminated-from-the-playoffs Johnson who won, leading 191 laps in the process. Johnson took the lead on the Green-White-Checkered finish that saw Keselowski and Gordon make contact, ending Gordon's day. JJ never looked back, becoming the track's Cup Series leader in wins and laps led. He also became the first driver to win the same race at Texas three straight times.
Quotable: "It was a Chase that was tough for us but to be able to redeem ourselves and come out of here with a victory is really, really cool."
Duck Commander 500 - Apr. 11, 2015
In the spring of 2015, Johnson finally did something he hadn't done at Texas Motor Speedway: win in the spring. He had Kevin Harvick, and to some extent Dale Earnhardt Jr., in hot pursuit in the final 14 laps, but neither driver could make a pass on the now five-time TMS winner. Johnson led 128 laps for the win.
Quotable: "I lost my voice. I woke up with a cold this morning. We've had an awesome, awesome start to the year. I know the results don't show it, but great support from our fans and our sponsors. We kept plugging away at it."
AAA Texas 500 - Nov. 8, 2015
Four straight years he came to Texas Motor Speedway for the fall playoff race, and four straight years he left with the trophy. Johnson was only the seventh driver in NASCAR history to accomplish the feat, and he did it by spoiling the most dominant performance in track history. Brad Keselowski led 312 laps, a number still unmatched at No Limits, Texas, but the 48 reeled him in with four laps to go and ran away from him for a 1.082-second margin of victory. He led just six laps in the race.
Quotable: "He got real loose off of 2, I had a big run off the top, and I went for a big slide job into 3 and 4 kind of like the Eldora stuff I learned and I got the win."
O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 - Apr. 9, 2017