Continue Reading Below
This year’s race at Daytona International Speedway in Florida will be Johnson’s last run at the venerable event. The 44-year-old star is set to retire following the 2020 NASCAR season after a long career as one of the circuit’s most successful – and highest-paid – drivers.
“There’s so much excitement in my heart about it all that it’s really fun and is bringing energy to me and the team,” Johnson told USA Today ahead of the race. “I know as the year goes on, it will become more emotional, but right now, it’s just bringing a ton of energy.”
A two-time winner at the Daytona 500, Johnson has remained one of NASCAR’s most marketable figures despite a recent downturn in his success on the track. The California native led all NASCAR drivers with $17.5 million in earnings in 2018 alone, including $14 million from salary and prize money, according to Forbes.
Johnson, who races for Hendrick Motorsports, is the only NASCAR driver to earn a base salary of at least $10 million. He has repeatedly ranked among NASCAR’s top-earning stars, topping Forbes’ list in two of the past three years.
Johnson’s No. 48 car is sponsored by Ally Financial. He has endorsement deals with Chevrolet and Gatorade, among other companies.
A seven-time champion in the NASCAR Cup Series, Johnson last won the Daytona 500 in 2013, garnering more than $1.5 million in prize money.
Johnson announced his intention to retire from full-time racing last November. He has hinted that he would like to try IndyCar racing in the near future.
Fans will have a close view of Johnson’s exploits at this year’s race. He will drive with an in-car camera throughout the race.
The 2020 Daytona 500 begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on Fox.
Fox Corp. is the parent company of Fox and FOX Business.