Story By: ALICIA DEAL / PETTY GMS – AVONDALE, AZ – Petty GMS Owner Maury Gallagher and Chairman Richard Petty, announced today the team has entered into an ownership agreement with seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson.
Additionally, Johnson will compete in a select number of NASCAR Cup Series events in 2023, to include the running of the 65thannual DAYTONA 500.
“I couldn’t be happier to have Jimmie Johnson joining Petty GMS,” stated Gallagher “We have been consistent since we began our Cup effort last year in wanting to be up front and have a winning program. No one in the modern era of NASCAR has won more than Jimmie. Having a driver, the caliber of Jimmie, driving our equipment and being able to provide feedback to our crew chiefs and engineers but most importantly, mentoring Erik and Noah will be invaluable. Perhaps most important of all, Jimmie will be a great partner. I know I speak for all the Petty GMS team members, including Richard Petty, in welcoming Jimmie to the team. No one else will be able to say they have two seven-time Cup champions on their team. We are looking to make a strong statement next year and show that we are here to contend for wins and championships. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.”
Petty GMS was formed in December 2021 when Gallagher, a two-time NASCAR Truck Series Championship team owner, purchased Richard Petty Motorsports. Petty, “The King”, a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion, Inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame Class member, and the all-time winningest driver in NASCAR history, will continue with the team his family started in 1949. Mike Beam, who began his career with Petty Enterprises as crew chief for Kyle Petty in the early 1980s, will remain in his role as team President.
“What an exciting time for Petty GMS,” said Petty. “This year we’ve accomplished so much together with Maury and now adding Jimmie will only continue to help us grow. To have Jimmie – another seven-time champion – as a part of the team, and his abilities both on track and off will be special for Petty GMS. I’m looking forward to having him as a part of our team and seeing what we can build together.”
“It’s great to be back in NASCAR,” stated Johnson. “When the INDYCAR season ended I started on this journey of what was next. Maury and I connected, this opportunity came to light and it’s the perfect fit for me. Team ownership makes so much sense at this stage of my career and after spending time with Maury and his family, talking with Mike (Beam), Dave (Elenz, crew chief of the No. 43) and Joey (Cohen, Director of Competition and Engineering), I realized this was something I wanted to be involved with from both the business perspective and on the competition side. If I’m going to commit to something like this, I want to make a difference and have something tangible to show for it when it’s all said and done. So, this opportunity with Petty GMS is all of that and much more.”
Johnson stepped away from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition at the conclusion of the 2020 season after 686 starts with Hendrick Motorsports. He currently ranks sixth on the all-time Cup Series wins list with 83, tied with NASCAR Hall of Fame member Cale Yarborough. Johnson will join 26-year-old driver Erik Jones, who recently scored Petty GMS’ first Cup Series win for the organization in the prestigious Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, and 24-year-old NASCAR Xfinity Series standout Noah Gragson, who will contend for NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of Year in 2023.
“I’m fortunate that I had incredible mentors throughout my life, and I’ve always tried to pay that forward,” said Johnson. “My experience and energy will add value to a team with young drivers like Erik and Noah – I feel like I can be a good resource both on and off the track.”
The remainder of Johnson’s racing schedule, partnerships, paint scheme and car number will be revealed at a future date.