From Jimmie Johnson to Clint Bowyer: Key NASCAR Figures That Retired After the 2020 Season

Published 12/25/2020, 12:15 PM EST
BRISTOL, TN – APRIL 06: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)

New faces will enter NASCAR as we head into the 2021 season with renewed optimism and confidence. At the same time, the sport will miss a few familiar faces that have been part of the three divisions at some stage in their careers.


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Make no mistake, these were popular figures who influenced the sport in quite a positive manner. Surely, their experience will be worth its weight in gold as aspiring racecar drivers look towards them as their role models.

Here are a few important NASCAR personalities that retired from the top division of stock car racing.


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1) Jimmie Johnson

686 race starts, 83 race wins, and seven championships, and one wonderful racing legend. A long-time star driver for Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson announced his intention to retire after the 2020 NASCAR edition.

HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 20: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, poses for a portrait after winning the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

He has entertained varied sections of the audience with his immaculate racecraft. He also won the trust of supporters for his off-track personality.

2) Clint Bowyer

Another long-standing campaigner in the top division was Clint Bowyer. Starting off with Richard Childress Racing, his initial seasons were quite eventful with a handful of race wins.

LOUDON, NH – JUNE 25: Clint Bowyer, driver of the #33 Zaxby’s/Cheerios Chevrolet, sits in his car prior to practice practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

His best shot at the title came in 2012, but sadly, he could not capitalize on the opportunity. He bowed out of racing, having accumulated 541 race starts and 10 victories.

3) Matt Kenseth

A Cup Series champion in 2003, Kenseth was quite a trailblazer in the peak form of his career. Spending most of his career with Roush Fenway Racing, he won 39 races in 697 races.

RICHMOND, VA – SEPTEMBER 12: Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Kenseth ended his time in the division with Chip Ganassi Racing, after replacing Kyle Larson a few races into the 2020 season. His best finish in his final season came at Indiana when he crossed the checkered flag to take home second place.

4) Chad Knaus


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Complementing drivers such as Stacy Compton, Jimmie Johnson, and William Byron, Knaus has been an excellent crew chief. His most significant achievement is obviously being a huge part of all seven of Johnson’s titles.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 09: Crew chief Chad Knaus stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Knaus now moves into an executive role as Vice President of Competition at Hendrick Motorsports itself. But his tactical nous and racing instincts will surely be missed on the track.


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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.