Jimmie Johnson, the seven-time NASCAR champion and one of the most successful drivers in auto racing history, will compete in his 19th and final full-time Cup Series season in 2020.

Johnson confirmed the news on social media.

The 44-year-old Johnson is one of the greatest champions in sports. His record-tying seven Cup titles, which include five straight from 2006-2010, are equaled only by NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. In 2009, Johnson became the first race car driver to be named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. The elite list of sports legends who have received the honor include icons such as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Tom Brady.

All 83 of Johnson’s points-paying Cup wins have come in the No. 48 Chevrolet of Hendrick Motorsports. They include two victories in the prestigious DAYTONA 500, four at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a record 11 at Dover International Speedway, nine at Martinsville Speedway and eight at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He has led nearly 19,000 career laps and qualified for NASCAR’s playoffs in 15 of the 16 seasons since the format’s inception in 2004.

A native of El Cajon, California, Johnson began racing motorcycles at age 5 followed by off-road trucks and eventually cars on pavement. At 25, he made his NASCAR Cup Series debut at Charlotte on Oct. 7, 2001, and this past Sunday recorded his 651st career start in the 2019 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His 19th and final full-time season will open with the DAYTONA 500 on Feb. 16, 2020.

Hendrick Motorsports will announce plans for its 2021 team alignment at a later date.

JIMMIE JOHNSON FACTS:

· Jimmie Johnson bio

· 18 full-time NASCAR Cup Series seasons (2002-2019)

· Seven-time Cup Series champion (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2016)

· Seven championships tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most all-time

· Only driver to win five consecutive Cup Series championships (2006-2010)

· 651 career points-paying Cup Series starts

· 648 consecutive starts; tied for sixth-most all-time

· 16 consecutive seasons with a win (2002-2017); tied for third-longest all-time

· Cup Series record 15 playoff appearances, all consecutive (2004-2018)

· First Cup Series win: Auto Club Speedway on April 28, 2002, in 13th career start

· 36 Cup Series pole positions

· 46 Cup Series runner-up finishes

· 227 Cup Series top-five finishes (35%)

· 364 Cup Series top-10 finishes (56%)

· 18,834 Cup Series laps led

· Led in 346 of 651 starts (53%)

· 83 career Cup Series wins; tied for sixth-most all-time with Cale Yarborough

· 47 wins from 2002-2009; winningest driver of the decade

· 36 wins from 2010-2019; third-winningest driver of the decade

· Won on 20 of 25 Cup Series tracks where he has raced

· 28 career Cup Series wins on 1.5-mile tracks; most all-time

· Two or more Cup Series wins at 17 different racetracks

· Cup Series “Crown Jewel” wins: DAYTONA 500 (2006, 2013), Charlotte 600 (2003, 2004, 2005, and 2014), Brickyard 400 (2006, 2008, 2009, 2012) and Southern 500 (2004, 2012)

· Won Hendrick Motorsports’ 200th race at Darlington in 2012

· Has competed against 262 different drivers over 651 career Cup Series starts

· Leads all drivers in wins at Dover (11), Charlotte oval (8), Texas (7), Auto Club (6), Las Vegas (4) and Kansas (3; tie)

NASCAR® and NBC Sports have teamed up to launch TrackPassTM on NBC Sports Gold, a new streaming product representing NASCAR’s most significant undertaking in the direct-to-consumer space. Set to launch in early December, TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold builds off the foundation set by FansChoice.tv and immediately becomes the most robust live and on-demand motorsports content offering in the domestic digital marketplace.

TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold will bring fans more exclusive live motorsports events and an extensive library of archived documentaries and films. The platform will offer exclusive live viewing of a multitude of motorsports, including American Flat Track, select ARCA Menards Series™ events (including ARCA Menards Series East and West races), NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour™, and tentpole grassroots racing events, as well as NASCAR Cup Series™ and NASCAR Xfinity Series™ practice and qualifying sessions (NBC Sports’ half of the schedule only).

International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) enthusiasts are also covered, as TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold will feature live and archived content from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge. Live NASCAR national series races (NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series™) will not be offered on the platform.

“The launch of TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold is a significant step forward in both our commitment to grassroots racing and the evolution of our direct-to-consumer strategy,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR president. “By partnering with NBC Sports, we can deliver more high-quality content to fans who have passionately followed their favorite racing series via FansChoice.tv, while increasing product availability and reliability.”

“Our partnership with NASCAR on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold is a win for racing fans across the U.S., from four-wide action at superspeedways to two wheels sliding across dirt tracks,” said Sam Flood, executive producer and president, production, NBC and NBCSN. “TrackPass will deliver unprecedented, exclusive live coverage of a wide variety of diehard racing fans’ favorite series – from IMSA, ARCA and American Flat Track, to grassroots racing at iconic local tracks like Bowman-Gray Stadium and Myrtle Beach Speedway. TrackPass is a must-have for passionate race fans.”

Fans can access all the content on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold for $4.99/month or $44.99/year. Series-specific subpackages for IMSA, AFT and NASCAR Roots content will also be available. Both the IMSA and NASCAR Roots (which includes ARCA, Whelen Modified Tour, tentpole grassroots events and select NASCAR practice and qualifying sessions) packages are $2.99/month or $19.99/year. The American Flat Track package will have a $1.99/month or $10.99/year introductory rate for 2020. Existing FansChoice.tv registered users will receive an introductory free trial to TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

While FansChoice.tv was a web-based platform, TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold allows users to stream content on an NBCSports.com and on mobile and connected devices via the NBC Sports app, letting fans experience racing action on their preferred hardware, including big-screen environments.

Gary Mondschein, founder and publisher of the Classic Racing Times and promoter of the highly successful vintage Indycar events at Pocono Raceway and elsewhere, has announced that his organization will no longer organize and conduct on-track vintage events.

In making the announcement in the November issue of the Classic Racing Times, Mondschein wrote that “This very difficult decision has been based on several factors, none of which call into question the amazing efforts of our “Yellow Shirts” team, the great staff at our host tracks, our dedicated participants, not even NTT Indycar Series scheduling. It is more about the personal and financial energy devoted to each event, and a desire to re-focus our energies.”

In the same issue Mondschein emphasized that publication of the Classic Racing Times newsletter, now entering its eighth year, will continue and will continue to grow. “With a growing subscription base bolstered by an ever increasing advertising portfolio our CRT newsletter is ‘hitting on all cylinders,’” Mondschein wrote.

The November issue of the Classic Racing Times includes, in addition to the bombshell announcement, an installment of a continuing series by Kevin Triplett highlighting national championship racing at Michigan International Speedway, an analysis of the challenges facing top-level racing promoters by Jim Schanz, a sidebar on the “doorstop” style of Indycar seen in the late 1960s, an Op-Ed on Roger Penske’s recent acquisition of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the NTT Indycar Series, and more.

Advertisers in the November issue range from Bentley’s Saloon to Ray Evernham’s Big Iron Garage.

Subscription information can be found online at www.TheClassicRacingTimes.com.

When cancer struck Edward Schrank for the fifth time, the 15-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran was told he would lose his jaw, his voice and, in all probability, his life.

Schrank sought a second opinion from another hospital and got a different prognosis and outcome. And on Saturday at ISM Raceway, he sang the National Anthem before the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200, the race that would determine the Championship 4 drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

“I think cancer … there’s a lot of ways you can be brought close to death,” Schrank told the NASCAR Wire Service before pre-race ceremonies. “Cancer is one of those. And when you spend a lot of time being close to dying—which I spent a few years, being told that I was not going to live—and then you emerge from that, you want to have a big life.

“You want to live a lot. So I filled that gap with wanting to do something with my voice, since part of that was losing my voice forever.”

Schrank had already lost his left eye and part of his skull to the first occurrence of head-and-neck cancer, the result of exposure to JP5/8 jet fuel while he was serving in the Marines. Even though he had no background in singing, he saw the preservation of his voice as a gift that should be used.

“I like to say I’ve never sung a note in my life, but as I say that, my mom reminds me that she loved listening to me sing as an altar boy,” Schrank said. “But either way, I think you could round it down to zero, until I was told during my fifth occurrence of cancer that I was going to lose my voice, that they were going to remove my jaw, and I would never speak again.

“When I found a new hospital that was able to save my life and my voice, I thought, ‘Well, I should learn how to sing.’”

But why the National Anthem, generally recognized as one of the most difficult songs to sing?

“My background in the Marine Corps made me feel like … I love the National Anthem,” Schrank said. “And I also read repeatedly online that the stupidest thing to learn how to sing was the National Anthem.

“And I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to do that.’ Usually when people describe something as stupid, what they mean is people try it, and it’s too difficult, and they quit. And that’s usually something that I get attracted to.”

Now a healthcare entrepreneur who has formed the Military Cancer Initiative, Schrank also served as special assistant to the mayor of Chicago. When he decided to pursue singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” he enlisted the help of perhaps the best-known National Anthem singer in the world—Jim Cornelison, who provides a booming rendition of the anthem before every Chicago Blackhawks home game.

“He is solely responsible for my ability,” Schrank said. “I met with him, I begged him, I bothered him, I nagged him, and he helped me. I don’t think I showed any reason why he should take me on initially. I think he just wanted—he gave me a chance.

“And I took that chance, and I put in all the hard work from one meeting to give him the reason to take on more opportunities, and that turned into meetings most Fridays at his house for two or three hours of hard work.”

On the eve of Veterans Day, Schrank’s hard work, courage, determination was to be on display again for the singing of “God Bless America” before the Bluegreen Vacations 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

I was one of those who thought the payoff was smaller for the lower classes. In a move to place Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway as the only place to race, the Board of Directors voted to increase payouts for all divisions beginning in the 2020 season. This includes the 600’s, 270’s, Sportsmen, and the newly combined 125 and Four Stroke division. Drivers will run for $500 to win every week, with cars seeing $50 just to take the green.

Payouts are balanced throughout the field, enabling more cars and drivers to take home more money. Included as a part of the payout increase is a return to car entry fees. Club members will see a $25 pit admission price, and $20 car entry fee. Non-members will have a $30 pit pass, and $30 car entry fee. With club membership costing only $35, members will recoup their membership dues after only four race nights, plus be eligible for the season-ending point’s award fund.

Club Vice-President and 600 driver Zach Light said, “A few of us put our heads together and tried to come up with a payout structure that increased the payback to the racer, while still making it financially feasible for the club. With our new payout structure, even 24th position makes a little bit over what it will cost to enter the pits and register your car for the night. We don’t believe there aren’t too many tracks around able to make that same claim.”

Having the same payout structure across classes was a key element of discussion for the Club. Light said, “One of the perceptions has been the other classes get paid less than the 600’s or 270’s. Mostly this was due to the structure being different. The purse was the same based on car count, but the money was distributed differently. This does away with different pay structures for different classes. All four classes will receive the same pay structure going forward.”

Full details of the payout schedule are available now at ClydeMartinSpeedway.com and on all of the track’s social media outlets.