The NASCAR season, like most sports, was paused because of the coronavirus pandemic. With lockdown restrictions eased in many states, NASCAR was cleared to hold races in multiple locations. Racing is now set to return at Darlington Speedway in South Carolina on May 17, with events held without fans and alterations made to follow social distancing guidelines.

The hiatus did not impact the season's order alone, it also caused Jimmie Johnson to make a decision regarding his retirement.

Johnson discussed on ESPN's Marty & McGee show how he has been preparing for the racing return and what his future in the sport holds.

He said time away made him sure about his decision to retire as a full-time Cup Series racer. 

Johnson said:

"It's only cemented my decision in making 2020 my last full-time year in Cup. But I still have some plans to race, and hopefully I'm going to have some time to gear up to make some decisions soon on what I can do in '21 and beyond. ... My mind has kind of wandered off into things that I've wanted to accomplish, personally, and where I want to spend my time, personally, and kind of pull back from that professional work mode and get a bit more balance."

This doesn't mean he'll be gone from the track completely. He said the time apart has shown him what he wants next for his career.

He said this unscheduled time away from racing has prepared him for the next chapter in life. 

"But for my own accord, and for my family, it's been a nice window into what the future will be like, and what 2021 will be like," Johnson said. "And it's been nice. I really have enjoyed being around."

To restrict crew needed, the drivers will not get any practice or qualifying laps in at the track ahead of the race. Johnson and others will have to rely on their iRacing laps from the past month.

As far as what Johnson expects of this new-look racing, "It's going to be nutty, to say the least."

The new Cup Series schedule will see four races in 11 days across two states.