Johnson earns Bill France Award of Excellence after final full-time NASCAR season

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson closes out his full-time NASCAR career with one of the sport’s highest recognitions.

Jimmie Johnson closes out his full-time NASCAR career with one of the sport‘s highest recognitions.

The seven-time Cup Series champion earned the Bill France Award of Excellence, which recognizes those who have made a massive impact on NASCAR during their time in the industry. The award is not given out annually, further emphasizing its importance. Johnson joins the likes of Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joe Gibbs, Richard Childress and Roger Penske, who have also received this honor.

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NASCAR vice president of racing development Ben Kennedy presented the rare hardware to Johnson on NBCSN during Wednesday’s 2020 NASCAR Awards show, a year-end celebration produced after COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancelation of Champion‘s Week festivities in Nashville, Tennessee.

“What an honor this is,” Johnson said. “I am so grateful and thankful for your contributions and what your future holds for you in our sport. So thankful for the contributions of your family and the vision that your family had to create this premier form of racing in the country, and to play a part of that and to have had the success I‘ve had in this sport is so meaningful to me.

“I am truly surprised and honored to receive this award. I wasn‘t expecting it walking in here. I know the importance of it, and I‘m really, really honored. So thank you.”

In his 19 full-time seasons driving the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Johnson has won 83 races — tied for sixth best all time with NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough. Johnson‘s seven titles also matches the series-best marks of NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. The five in a row from Johnson, however, is a solo record. That historic span came from 2006-10.