Seven-time NASCAR champion and El Cajon native Jimmie Johnson announced today on Twitter that the 2020 season will be his last as a full-time driver in stock car racing's premier series.

"I'm so thankful for 18 incredible years of racing in NASCAR," Johnson said in his tweet.

"The sport has been good to me. It has allowed me to do something I truly love. I showed up chasing a dream and achieved more than I ever thought possible. I'm looking forward to next season and celebrating what will be my last year as a full-time NASCAR Cup driver. I know what this team is capable of, and I hope 2020 is one of the best yet."

Johnson, who turned 44 on Sept. 17, is tied for first with legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with seven titles. He has 83 wins in NASCAR's premier series, tying him for sixth. In 2009, Johnson became the first driver to be named The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.

Johnson has spent his entire career on NASCAR's Cup series driving the No. 48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.

Raised in the East County community of Crest, Johnson began racing motorcycles at the age of five. He won his first professional driving championship in short-course off-road trucks while still a student at Granite Hills High. He later raced off-road trucks in the SCORE series before moving to pavement racing in stock cars.

Johnson made his debut in NASCAR's Cup series at the age of 25. Included among his 83 wins are two Daytona 500s, four stock car races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a record 11 races on the one-mile oval at Dover, Del.

Johnson is the only driver to win five straight NASCAR championships (2006-2010) and he added titles in 2013 and 2016. He won under all three championship scoring systems.

But Johnson has not won a race since the 2017 season and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 2019. He has made 651 career starts in NASCAR's premier series.

Although the 2020 season will be his last full-time campaign in the final year of his contract with Hendrick Motorsports, Johnson has stated in the past his desire to run selected NASCAR races plus explore other forms of racing after his retirement as a full-time driver. Johnson has also competed in marathons and triathlons as an participant in endurance sports.