The moment came because other drivers pitted ahead of him, but Jimmie Johnson’s brief lead Sunday at Phoenix in his final NASCAR race nonetheless sparked a strong reaction on social media.
The seven-time champion is stepping away after a 2020 season in which he struggled to keep up with top rivals. He missed the playoffs entirely.
Midway through Stage 2 on Sunday, the words “new leader, No. 48” were uttered for perhaps the final time in reference to Johnson.
Chase Elliott, one of Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsport teammates, is part of a stable of young drivers who came up idolizing Johnson. Elliott is part of the Championship 4 contending for his first NASCAR title.
The torch is passed to the next generation of Chevrolet drivers, but Johnson is getting his due recognition.
Here’s what NASCAR fans had to say about the moment Johnson took the lead:
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