Daytona 500: Jimmie Johnson's Final NASCAR Run Following Retirement Has Fans Emotional

Sunday afternoon, 40 drivers headed to the cars for the start of the Daytona 500. This was the event that started the 2020 season of NASCAR action, but it was the beginning of the end for one man. Jimmie Johnson, a 19-year veteran, was taking part in the final 500 of his long and storied career.

Prior to the calendar turning to 2020, Johnson announced that he would be walking away from the sport after one more run. The man with 83 victories to his name and seven championships was in search of a historic eighth, which would move him ahead of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.

However, there was one small issue in that the inclement weather put a halt to the Daytona 500. The drivers were forced out of action after only 20 laps. The fans voiced their frustration with the stoppage, but they did take the opportunity to thank Johnson for all of his contributions to the sport.

"Jimmie, i've been a fan of yours since 2013. I've always loved seeing you dominate and win," one fan wrote on Twitter in response to Johnson walking away from full-time driving. "It's not going to be the same without you there every Sunday. Regardless, I hope you have a very fun final season JJ! I'll be rooting for you this whole season! #OneFinalTime"

Entering the Daytona 500, the 44-year-old Johnson had 22-1 odds to win the Great American Race. This was partially owed to his struggles over the past two years. He ranked 14th in 2018 and 18th in 2019, which caused him to miss the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Playoffs for the first time in his career.

Despite the struggles, there was a belief among Johnson's fans that he could mount a comeback in the 2020 season and secure a record-setting eighth championship. After all, Johnson is someone that created NASCAR fans, and they didn't believe that there was anything he couldn't do.

"I became a NASCAR fan after seeing you. You are and always will be my favorite driver. #OneFinalTime," another fan added to the conversation. Watching Johnson walk away was very bittersweet for those that got into NASCAR after watching him find success and win five consecutive championships (2006-2010).

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Unfortunately for these fans, they were unable to watch the final Daytona 500 of Johnson's career on Sunday. The rain delay officially became a postponement as the race was moved to Monday at 4 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images