Jimmie Johnson

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This article is about the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. For other people named Jimmie Johnson or Jimmy Johnson, see Jimmy Johnson (disambiguation).
Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson, Richmond 2011 (cropped).jpg
Johnson in 2011
Born (1975-09-17) September 17, 1975 (age 39)
El Cajon, California, U.S.
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg)
Achievements 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 NASCAR Cup Series Champion
2003, 2006, 2012, 2013 Sprint All-Star Race Winner
2005 Budweiser Shootout Winner
2006, 2013 Daytona 500 Winner
2003, 2004, 2005, 2014 Coca-Cola 600 Winner
2004, 2012 Southern 500 Winner
2006, 2008, 2009, 2012 Brickyard 400 Winner
2010 Prelude to the Dream Winner
Six off-road racing championships
Awards 1998 ASA National Tour Rookie of the Year
2009 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year
2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013 Driver of the Year
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
467 race(s) run over 14 year(s)
Car no., team No. 48 (Hendrick Motorsports)
2013 position 1st
Best finish 1st (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013)
First race 2001 UAW-GM Quality 500 (Charlotte)
Last race 2014 GEICO 500 (Talladega)
First win 2002 NAPA Auto Parts 500 (California)
Last win 2014 Quicken Loans 400 (Michigan)
Wins Top tens Poles
69 290 33
NASCAR Nationwide Series career
93 race(s) run over 10 year(s)
Car no., team No. 5 (JR Motorsports)
2013 position 111th
Best finish 8th (2001)
First race 1998 Kroger 200 (IRP)
Last race 2013 Dollar General 200 (Phoenix)
First win 2001 Sam's Club Presents the Hills Bros. Coffee 300 (Chicago)
Wins Top tens Poles
1 24 2
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
1 race(s) run over 1 year(s)
Best finish 104th (2008)
First race 2008 O'Reilly 200 (Bristol)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0
Statistics current as of October 19, 2014.

Jimmie Kenneth Johnson (born September 17, 1975) is an American stock car racing driver and a six-time champion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He drives the No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports.

Johnson was born in El Cajon, California, and began racing motorcycles at the age of four. After graduating from Granite Hills High School he competed in off-road series. He raced in Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group (MTEG), Short-course Off-road Drivers Association (SODA) and SCORE International, winning rookie of the year in each series. In 1998, Johnson and his team, Herzog Motorsports, began stock car racing. He moved to the national American Speed Association (ASA) series for late model touring cars, and won another rookie of the year title. In 2000, he switched to the NASCAR Busch Series (now Nationwide Series).

He moved to Hendrick Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series in 2002. After finishing fifth in the points in his first full season, he was second in 2003 and 2004 and fifth in 2005. Johnson won his first Cup series championship in 2006 and with further wins in 2007, 2008, 2009 and in 2010 became the only driver in NASCAR history to win five consecutive championships. During the 2011 season, Johnson finished sixth in points, while he finished third in 2012. In 2013, Johnson won his sixth championship, one fewer than Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt who have the record for the most championships. Johnson is also a two-time Daytona 500 winner, with victories in 2006 and 2013. Between 2002 and 2014, Johnson has recorded six championships, 69 wins, 280 top-tens, and 33 pole positions.

Johnson became the first racing driver to become Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year (U.S.) in 2009, and has won Driver of the Year five times, most recently in 2013. He also topped Forbes.com's Most Influential Athletes list for two consecutive years (2011, 2012). Johnson is also the only driver to have qualified for the Chase every single year since its inception in 2004.

Racing career[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Johnson started racing motorcycles in 1980 when he was five. Three years later he won the 60cc class championship, despite having an injured knee.[1] Afterward, he moved to the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group (MTEG) Stadium Racing Series where he won several more awards. In 1993, Johnson was given the opportunity to drive for Herb Fishel. He refused the deal and continued racing buggies and trucks in off-road stadium and desert races. He also reported for ESPN in the Short Course Off-Road Drivers Association (SODA). Three years later, Johnson drove for Herzog Motorsports in the off-road truck series in 1996.[1] By 1997, Johnson had progressed to SODA's Class 8; Class 8 is short-course off-road racing's class of two-wheel trophy trucks which generate about 800 horsepower.[2] He battled Scott Taylor and Brendan Gaughan for the championship.[2] That year, Johnson won both races at Lake Geneva Raceway's first race weekend in May.[3] He also won the season's third event at Antigo before finishing second to Brendan Gaughan at Antigo's second race.[4] Johnson returned to Lake Geneva in July, winning the Saturday race and finished second on the following day.[5] Taylor ended up winning the championship with Gaughan second and Johnson third.[6] During his time in the SODA, SCORE and MTEG series, he accumulated over 25 wins, 100 top-three finishes, six championships, and received Rookie of the Year honors in all three leagues.[7]

In 1998, he began racing on asphalt ovals when he entered the American Speed Association (ASA)[8] as well as part time in the NASCAR Busch Series (now Nationwide Series).[1] In the same year, Johnson won the ASA Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie title.[8] One year later, he had two wins and finished third in the standings.[7] In 2000, he was announced the driver for Herzog Motorsports in the Busch Series. During the season, he finished tenth in the point standings. During the 2001 season, Johnson recorded one win, which was at Chicagoland Speedway, and finished eighth in the point standings. He also began racing in the Winston Cup Series (now Sprint Cup Series) for Hendrick Motorsports. In the following season, Johnson left Herzog Motorsports to move to Hendrick Motorsports in the Winston Cup Series.[7][9][10]

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

2002–05[edit]

Johnson began racing full-time in the Winston Cup Series during the 2002 season. He earned his first career pole position for the 44th Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, the second rookie to do so (the first was Loy Allen, Jr. in the 1994 Daytona 500.) In his 13th career start, Johnson scored his first career win in the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Johnson became the first rookie driver to lead the point standings, and the first rookie to win twice at the same track during a season, by sweeping both Dover International Speedway races. He recorded four pole positions and three wins (tying the rookie record set by Tony Stewart in 1999),[11] as well as 6 top-five and 21 top-ten finishes. He finished fifth in the final point standings.[7][9]

During 2003, Johnson finished ninth on the all-time list for consecutive weeks ranked in the top-10 in points with 69. He recorded three wins (Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and swept both New Hampshire races), two pole positions, 14 top-fives, and 20 top-ten finishes, which he won both races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the season. He also was able to win the All-Star race for his first time, as well as finishing second to Matt Kenseth in the final point standings, 90 points behind Kenseth, and 207 ahead of Johnson's future teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr.[12] His two pole positions in the season were at the Kansas Speedway and Pocono Raceway.[9]

Johnson qualifying at Auto Club Speedway in 2005.

In 2004, Johnson started slowly at Rockingham Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway with results of 41st and 16th, after a top-ten finish in the Daytona 500. However, he quickly was able to rebound with a win at the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. Subsequent victories at the Coca-Cola 600, the Pocono 500, and the Pennsylvania 500 came in the middle of the season, seeing Johnson sweep the Pocono races. However, finishes of 37th and 32nd at Talladega Superspeedway and Kansas Speedway moved him toward the bottom of the point standings. Afterward he was able to win in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The second victory of the 2004 Chase for the Nextel Cup, at the Subway 500 in Martinsville, Virginia on October 24, 2004, was marred by tragedy. Owner Rick Hendrick's son Ricky, twin nieces, brother, and chief engine builder Randy Dorton as well as Joe Turner, Scott Lathram were killed in an airplane crash en route to the race. All eight passengers and both pilots died in the incident, and Johnson was told after completion of the race.[13] Johnson had a total of eight wins during the season, as well as 20 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes. At the end of the season, Johnson finished second in the point standings.[9][14]

In 2005, Johnson won at Las Vegas, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, and then again at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In total, Johnson had four consecutive wins at his sponsor (Lowe's) sponsored track in Charlotte, North Carolina. Johnson had a chance to win the championship coming into the November 20 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but finished 5th in points after crashing at the midway point of the event with a tire problem.[15] He recorded 13 top-fives, 22 top-10 finishes, and one pole position.[9]

2006–10: championship streak[edit]

In 2006, Johnson began the season by winning the Daytona 500. He finished second at the next race at California Speedway and won the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Johnson also won the Brickyard 400, as well as two other victories at Martinsville and Talladega in the season. During the season, he became the only driver in the modern era to win at least three races in each of his first five seasons. At the end of the season, he recorded one pole, 13 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes, as well as winning the championship title, which was his first in his NASCAR career. In December of the same year, Johnson was announced the 2006 Driver of the Year.[7][9][16]

In December 2007, Johnson started a program of exercise sessions and a run schedule supervised by John Sitaras, in order to balance his strength. Sitaras' initial assessment found that half of his body was much tighter, having acclimated to offsetting the g-force load from turning left while driving.[17][18] In two years, Johnson's body fat percentage dropped from 20% to 8% (visible also in the change of the shape of his face), while his strength and stamina greatly improved.[19] Johnson later became the first racing driver to be named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year (in 2009).[20][21]

During the 2007 season, Johnson continued on a streak, and recorded ten wins, four pole positions, 20 top-five, and 24 top-10 finishes. His wins included both Richmond races, Atlanta, Martinsville, as well as one at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,[7] Auto Club, Texas and Phoenix. Afterward, he won his second consecutive title, as well as being named 2007 Driver of the Year. Johnson also had the best average finish in the Chase with a 5.0. At seasons end, he had a total of 33 wins, which was 18th at the time on the all time list.[9][22]

Jimmie Johnson racing in the 2008 Daytona 500

After the 2008 season, Johnson became the second driver to win three consecutive Sprint Cup Series championships, with the other being Cale Yarborough. During the season, he managed to record seven wins, a career high of six pole positions, 15 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes. In five of his seven wins, he started from the pole position. He became the only driver to record three wins in each of their first seven seasons. In the Chase for the Sprint Cup, he had recorded 14 wins, eight more than any other driver. Also in the season, he was named 2008 Driver of the Year, and won an ESPY as the Best Driver. After the season, he also moved to third on the active winners list at the time.[9][23]

In the 2009 season, Johnson recorded his fourth consecutive championship, becoming the only driver to do so. Throughout the season he won 7 races, 4 pole positions, 16 top-fives and 24 top-tens. Johnson now became the only driver to win at least three races in each of his first eight seasons, as well as the only driver to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup every year since 2004. During the season he became second on the active winners list, while 13th on the all time winners list. After the season concluded, he was awarded an ESPY for the second consecutive year, and won the Driver of the Year title for the third time, tying Jeff Gordon, Mario Andretti, and Darrell Waltrip as the only three time winners of the award.

During 2010, Johnson managed to win his fifth consecutive championship, becoming the third driver who made up points to win the title since 1975. In the season, he earned 2 pole positions, 17 top-fives, 23 top-tens, and won 6 races. He also remained the only driver to qualify for the Chase every year since its inception in 2004, and became tenth on the all time NASCAR win list. Johnson was also voted Driver of the Year for the fourth time in his NASCAR career, joining Gordon as four time winners of the award.[9][24][25][26] He also managed to win Tony Stewart's charity race, the Prelude to the Dream, which was his first victory on a dirt oval.[27]

2011[edit]

Johnson (No. 5) and Jeff Gordon during the 2011 All-Star Race

In 2011, Johnson began the season with a fourth place finish in the Budweiser Shootout, after starting from the 23rd position.[28] One week later in the 2011 Daytona 500, he started 23rd, but finished 27th after being involved in a crash on lap 29.[29] During the Subway Fresh Fit 500, he managed a third place finish. Following a 16th place finish after the Kobalt Tools 400 he collected two consecutive top-five finishes.[28]

Statistically, Johnson's 2011 season was his worst performance to date, even though he finished sixth in the points. He only won two races during the season. The first was the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, where Johnson started on the outside pole, and tandem-drafted with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for the entire race. On the last lap, with Johnson in front, he and Earnhardt, Jr. were in fifth and sixth off of turn 4, behind two other pairs of cars - their Hendrick teammates Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin, and the Richard Childress drafting pair of Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick. In the tri-oval, Earnhardt, Jr. gave Johnson enough of a push to nip Bowyer at the finish line by 0.002 seconds. This was the closest recorded finish in Talladega history, and tied the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 for closest margin of victory in NASCAR history.[30] After finishing in the first 15 positions in the next four races, Johnson failed to finish the Coca-Cola 600 after his engine failed.[28] The next week, in the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400, Johnson spun off turn two, flattening multiple tires, and breaking the sway bar which prompted him to a finish of 27th.[31] During the Toyota/Save Mart 350, Johnson finished seventh after starting 12th on the grid. The finish moved Johnson to third in the Drivers' standings.[32]

After returning to Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400, Johnson and Earnhardt, Jr. ran together for most of the race, like at Talladega, until Johnson pitted under a caution flag. Johnson fell down the grid and was involved in a last lap accident, prompting him to finish 20th.[33] During the next two races, Johnson finished third and fifth in the Quaker State 400 and the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.[28] Two weeks later, Johnson found himself finishing 19th during the Brickyard 400 after coming to pit road with 30 laps remaining in the event.[34] Johnson finished fourth in the Good Sam RV Insurance 500,[28] after bumping Kurt Busch on the final lap.[35] In the next race, Johnson managed to finish tenth.[28] Johnson finished in the top-five in the following three races.[28] During the last race of the regular season, the Wonderful Pistachios 400, Johnson finished in the 31st position.[28] While at Chicagoland Speedway for the GEICO 400, Johnson finished 10th.[28] Afterward, Johnson managed to finish 18th in the Sylvania 300, then second in the AAA 400. One week later, Johnson recorded his second victory of the season in the Hollywood Casino 400.[28] During the Bank of America 500, Johnson was involved in a crash and finished 34th. In the following race, Johnson finished second. For the next two races, Johnson finished 14th in each, and finished 32nd in the Ford 400 to finish sixth in the Driver's championship standings.[28] The Championship, for the first time since 2006, went to Tony Stewart.

2012[edit]

Johnson began the 2012 season with a 14th place finish in the Budweiser Shootout after crashing on lap 74.[36] During the Daytona 500, Johnson was involved in a crash on lap 2 when he turned into the wall after contact from Elliott Sadler, then was t-boned by David Ragan, also collecting Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Trevor Bayne. Damage to the car was severe, prompting him to retire and finish 42nd.[37] Afterward, he finished fourth and second in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 and Kobalt Tools 400.[38] While at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500, Johnson finished in the ninth position, moving him up to 11th[39] in the Drivers' Standings.[40] Next, Johnson finished tenth in the Auto Club 400, despite having an oil leak,[41] and twelfth during the spring event at Martinsville after being involved in a crash on the first green-white-checker attempt.[42] In the following event, the Samsung Mobile 500, Johnson finished second after leading much of the race before he was passed by Greg Biffle.[43] Afterward, he recorded a third place finish in the STP 400 at Kansas on April 22, 2012, and a sixth place finish in the Capital City 400 at Richmond one week later.[38] On May 6, 2012, Johnson started 19th in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega, but finished 35th after his engine failed on lap 110.[44]

Johnson pits his car in 2012

Johnson won his first race of the season one week later in the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington. The win was also Rick Hendrick's 200th Sprint Cup Series win.[45] A week later, he matched Gordon and Dale Earnhardt with three wins in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race after winning the 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.[46] Next, in the Coca-Cola 600, Johnson finished 11th in the race after a penalty on lap 354.[47] After the Coca-Cola 600, Johnson went on to win his second race of the season in the FedEx 400.[48] In the Pocono 400, he recorded a fourth place finish after starting 24th on the grid.[49] During the next two races, Johnson placed fifth,[38] moving him to fourth in the standings.[50] Afterward, Johnson finished sixth after winning his first pole position of the season in the Quaker State 400.[51] However, in the Coke Zero 400, Johnson finished 36th[38] after retiring from a crash on lap 124.[52] After finishing seventh during the Lenox Industrial Tools 301,[38] Johnson recorded his third victory of the season and his fourth career win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, tying Jeff Gordon for what was the record for the most wins in the Brickyard 400.[53]

After making the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Johnson secured three straight top five finishes in the GEICO 400, Sylvania 300 and AAA 400.[38] Following a seventeenth place finish in Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500, Johnson recorded four top-ten finishes,[38] including two consecutive wins from the pole position at Martinsville and Texas, which was his sixtieth win in the series, to take a seven point lead over Brad Keselowski.[54] At Phoenix, Johnson blew a right front tire, which caused him to collide into the wall and finish in the 32nd position.[55] He was racing for the win and the championship the following week at Homestead, but his chances of winning the championship was over after he had a pit road penalty and had a gear failure and he finished 36th in that race, and finished third in the Drivers Championship behind Keselowski and Bowyer.[56]

2013[edit]

Johnson racing during the 2013 STP Gas Booster 500
Johnson during practice for the 2013 NRA 500

In 2013, Johnson began his season with a fourteenth place finish in the 2013 Sprint Unlimited when he crashed on lap 14 along with Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, and Denny Hamlin.[57] Afterward, he placed fourth in the first Budweiser Duel, resulting in a ninth place starting position in the 2013 Daytona 500.[57]

In the Daytona 500, Johnson started well, assuming the lead from Jeff Gordon on lap 33 and leading a handful of laps before falling back to the middle of the pack. Over the last few laps, Johnson was racing alongside Brad Keselowski for the lead until a caution came out for debris. Johnson took the advantage of leading on the last restart. On the last five lap shootout, Johnson led a lane with Greg Biffle and Danica Patrick. He then held off a last lap charge from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Mark Martin to win his second Daytona 500.[58] This was Johnson's first Daytona 500 win with regular crew chief Chad Knaus, as he won the 2006 race with Darian Grubb as Knaus was serving a five-race suspension. It was also the first time since his 2006 win that he finished better than 27th in the Daytona 500, after a streak of six years where he had never finished better than 27th because of crashes and mechanical failures.

The following week at Phoenix, Johnson started inside the top ten and finished second behind Carl Edwards. He followed this with a sixth place finish at Las Vegas. At Bristol, he was running on the lead lap until a spin late race forced him back to a 22nd place finish. At Fontana, he struggled for most of the race, salvaging a 12th place finish. Johnson won his first pole position of the season at Martinsville and had the dominant car, leading 346 of 500 laps on the way to his eighth Martinsville race win. Johnson also assumed the point lead, which he would hold on to for the remainder of the regular season. Johnson's consistency was enough that there were points in the summer where he was more than a full two race wins' worth of points ahead of Carl Edwards or Clint Bowyer. Afterward, Johnson finished in sixth at Texas. At Kansas, he led nine laps and finished third behind Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne. Johnson finished twelfth the following week at Richmond, allowing him to build even further on his point lead. At Talladega, he was the only driver besides Matt Kenseth to lead double digit laps (16), and finished in fifth place. A fourth place finish the following week at Darlington allowed Johnson to further solidify his point lead over Edwards.

At the 2013 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Johnson won his record fourth All-Star race after a fast pit stop allowed him to start the final 10-lap sprint in second, and later managed to pass Kasey Kahne for the victory.[59] One week later, Johnson finished 22nd after spinning sideways late in the race. At Dover, Johnson led 143 laps, but finished 17th when he jumped Juan Pablo Montoya on the last restart. He was able to redeem himself for this mistake the following week at Pocono by earning the pole position, leading the most laps, and winning his third race of the season, which increased his point lead to 51 points over Edwards. This also snapped a nine year winless streak for Johnson at Pocono since sweeping both of the track's 2004 Sprint Cup races. At the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan, Johnson closed in on Greg Biffle for the lead with less than ten laps left, but suffered a flat tire with less than five laps to go. Johnson would finish the race in 28th, his worst finish of the season to that point.[60] Johnson then finished ninth at Sonoma. At Kentucky, Johnson started third. He had the dominant car of the race, leading 182 of 267 laps. However, on a restart on lap 246, Johnson was slow to get up to speed and was subsequently touched and spun by Joey Logano, costing Johnson a shot at the win and giving the race to Matt Kenseth. Johnson was able to charge through the field after the caution and restart to salvage a ninth place finish.

Returning to Daytona for the Coke Zero 400, Johnson led 94 laps and held off Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick on a green-white-checker finish to win his fourth race of the year. In winning the race, Johnson became the first driver since Bobby Allison in 1982 to sweep both Daytona races in a season.[61] This was a significant improvement in Johnson's runs on the restrictor plate tracks, as he had been crashed out of the running at both Daytona races in 2012, had an engine failure early while leading at Talladega in the spring and was part of a crash on the last lap in the fall.

At New Hampshire for the Camping World RV Sales 301, Johnson qualified 2nd, but failed post-qualifying inspection after his car was found to be too low, and started the race in 43rd,[62] the first time in his career he started dead last. In the race, Johnson passed seven cars in the first four laps and reached the top 20 by lap 50, while reaching the top 10 by lap 165; Johnson would finish sixth.[63] He almost won the pole position at Indianapolis but was bumped to second by Ryan Newman. Johnson led the most laps and almost won, but a slow final pit stop cost him the race to Newman. The following week at Pocono, Johnson won another pole position, setting another track qualifying record. He led 43 of the first 80 laps before he cut a right front tire that knocked a spark plug loose and affected the handling of the car. Johnson's pit crew worked hard to repair the car, fixing the plug on the last pit stop, and managing to salvage a 13th place finish.

Returning to Michigan, Johnson qualified third but crashed in happy hour, forcing him to a backup car and a 43rd starting spot. After running up to the lead through pit stop strategy, Johnson lost an engine on lap 55, relegating him to a 40th place finish. This was followed by a streak of three poor finishes of 36th at Bristol, 28th at Atlanta, and 40th at Richmond due to crashes.

Johnson started the Chase seeded in second place. He began the Chase with a fifth place finish at Chicago, followed by a fourth place finish at New Hampshire. At Dover, Johnson led 243 laps and held off Dale Earnhardt, Jr. over the last 25 laps to win his eighth race at the track, also redeeming himself for the restart line violation that had cost him a shot at winning the June race.[64]

Johnson spent the next several races stalking Matt Kenseth for the points lead, eventually gaining it at Talladega, though losing it when he and Kenseth tied for points lead at Martinsville. Returning to Texas, Johnson had the dominant car, leading 255 laps to his sixth win of the season. The following weekend at Phoenix, Johnson avoided trouble in tight racing on 2 separate occasions (a near scrape in turn 4 on the first lap, and later a near spin after contact with Carl Edwards in turn 1) to escape with a 3rd place finish. He also capitalized on Kenseth suffering from a poor-handling car. With Kenseth finishing 23rd, Johnson took a 28-point lead to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the finale, Johnson raced conservatively to a ninth-place finish to secure his sixth title. He closed out the season with six wins, three poles, 16 top five and 24 top 10 finishes, with an average finish of 9.8 and average start of 10.7.

2014[edit]

Johnson was held winless through the first 11 races of the 2014 season. Skepticism began to arise, as he had never gone more than 12 races into a season without a win, and hadn't gone that long since the first few years of his Cup career. However, Johnson won the Coca-Cola 600 at the end of May, his first win in the Coca-Cola 600 since 2005.[65] Afterward, he went on to win at Dover the following week.[66] A few weeks later, Johnson recorded his first Michigan race victory, after several years of being deprived of a shot at victory as the result of running out of gas or blowing an engine. Unfortunately, he didn't keep up with the momentum. After finishing 7th at Sonoma and a top ten in Kentucky, Johnson was collected in a big wreck in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona finishing 42nd, ending his day.[67] Johnson's streak of misfortune continued the next several weeks, finishing 42nd for the 2nd week in a row at New Hampshire. This was followed up by an inconsistent run at Indy (14th), and poor showings at Pocono (39th) and Watkins Glen (28th). Despite the poor finishes, Johnson qualified 4th for the Chase. He finished 12th at Chicagoland, 5th at New Hampshire, and 3rd at Dover to advance to the next round. However, trouble struck when he finished 40th and 17th in the next two races. On October 19, he started 2nd at Talladega and he led a high of 84 laps. Unfortunately he ended up a disappointing 24th place finish and he missed the next chase round along with his teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kasey Kahne, and JGR driver Kyle Busch.

Race of Champions[edit]

Jimmie Johnson driving a Fiat Grande Punto S2000 Abarth at the 2007 Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium.

Johnson first raced in the Race of Champions in Europe in 2002. He was eliminated in the first runoff by then world rally champion Marcus Grönholm of Finland but he and Jeff Gordon and Colin Edwards racing as Team USA won the teams' championship. He returned to the event two years later but lost the quarter finals 0–2 to Mattias Ekström of Sweden who was DTM German Touring Car champion that year.

Johnson entered the 2006 event but did not start due to injury received just days before the race.[68] He still attended the event to cheer for team mate Travis Pastrana. In the 2007 event Johnson was eliminated before the quarter-finals by F1 driver Sébastien Bourdais of France.[69][70]

Grand-Am[edit]

In 2004, he began his Grand-Am career in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, where he finished eighth. He also entered the event one year later, which his team, Howard-Boss Motorsports, managed to finish second. Two years later, he entered two events, which were both held at Daytona International Speedway. During the races, his team finished 9th and 19th. In 2008, Johnson moved to Bob Stallings Racing with Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty to race in the 2008 Rolex 24 at Daytona, where the team finished second. One year later, he returned with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing for his fifth Rolex 24 appearance. During the race, his team managed to finish seventh. He returned to the team in 2010, to race in the Rolex 24 and Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen.[71] During the Rolex 24 at Daytona his team finished 21st,[72] while at Watkins Glen the team managed to finish sixth.[73] He returned to the Rolex 24, in 2011 where his team managed to finish 15th.[74][75]

Personal life[edit]

Jimmie Johnson
Chandra Johnson - Jimmie Johnson - Barack Obama.jpg
Johnson (center) with his wife Chandra and President Barack Obama in 2011
Born Jimmie Kenneth Johnson
(1975-09-17) September 17, 1975 (age 39)
El Cajon, California, United States
Nationality American
Occupation Racing driver, philanthropist
Spouse(s)
  • Chandra Janway (m. 2004)
Children Genevieve Marie (b. 2010)
Lydia Norriss (b. 2013)
Website
jimmiejohnson.com

Johnson was born in El Cajon, California,[76] on September 17, 1975,[1] the son of Catherine Ellen "Cathy" (née Dunnill) and Gary Ernest Johnson.[77][78] He attended Granite Hills High School,[79][80] while he raced motorcycles during the weekends. He was a varsity water polo player, diver and swimmer and graduated in 1993. The number 48 is retired from all sports teams uniforms at his school and Johnson was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.[81] He has two younger brothers, Jarit and Jessie. Jarit Johnson has made several Pro 2 off-road racing starts in the Traxxas TORC Series.[82] Johnson lives in Charlotte, North Carolina[1] like many other NASCAR drivers. He is married to Chandra Janway, the two having known each other since 2002.[83] They have two daughters, Genevieve and Lydia.[84][85]

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation[edit]

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation was launched by Johnson and his wife Chandra in 2006. The foundation helps children, families, and communities in need. In 2007, Johnson opened Jimmie Johnson’s Victory Lanes in Randleman, North Carolina, which is a four lane bowling center for campers at Pattie and Kyle Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp. The foundation supports several charities, including Habitat for Humanity, Hendrick Marrow Program, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Victory Junction. Every year it holds a golf tournament in San Diego,[86] which raises money to build Habitat for Humanity homes in Johnson's hometown. Since the beginning the tournament has raised a total of two million US$ to help fund several projects. During 2009 and 2010, the foundation awarded $1.5 million for the Education Champions Grants program. The money is given to public schools in California, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. It helps fund basic needs, such as technology, outdoor classrooms, playground construction, and reading programs. The foundation has also assisted the American Red Cross with disaster relief efforts.[9][79][87]

In 2014 Johnson joined the Ban Bossy campaign as a spokesperson advocating leadership in young girls.[88][89][90][91]

In popular media[edit]

Acting[edit]

Johnson made an appearance as himself in the 2005 film Herbie: Fully Loaded.

Television appearances[edit]

Johnson starred in an episode of the television series Las Vegas in 2005.[92]

Johnson starred in an episode of the HBO reality television series 24/7, titled "Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona". Cameras followed him from January 2010 to the 52nd Daytona 500 held on February 14.[93]

On November 19, 2013, Johnson became the first professional athlete to co-host ESPN's flagship news show, SportsCenter.[94]

Video games[edit]

Johnson's Cup ride, the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, is featured on the covers of NASCAR Racing 2003 Season and NASCAR The Game: 2011.

Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon are featured on the cover of NASCAR 06: Total Team Control, highlighting Team Control, the main addition of the game.[95] Johnson is also one of the six cover drivers of NASCAR Kart Racing.

Johnson is featured in the 2011 racing video game Jimmie Johnson's Anything with an Engine.

Motorsports career results[edit]

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series[edit]

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by time. )

Results[edit]

Summary[edit]

Season Races Wins Poles Top 5 Top 10 DNF Finish Start Points Position Team(s)
2001 3 0 0 0 0 1 31.0 22.0 210 52nd Hendrick Motorsports
2002 36 3 4 6 21 3 13.5 14.3 4,600 5th
2003 36 3 2 14 20 3 11.4 12.3 4,932 2nd
2004 36 8 1 20 23 7 12.1 10.5 6,498 2nd
2005 36 4 1 13 22 5 12.7 12.2 6,406 5th
2006 36 5 1 13 24 1 9.7 10.8 6,475 1st
2007 36 10 4 20 24 4 10.8 9.8 6,723 1st
2008 36 7 6 15 22 1 10.5 8.5 6,684 1st
2009 36 7 4 16 24 1 11.1 8.3 6,652 1st
2010 36 6 2 17 23 4 12.2 9.4 6,622 1st
2011 36 2 0 14 21 2 11.9 12.9 2,304 6th
2012 36 5 4 18 24 6 10.1 10.9 2,360 3rd
2013 36 6 3 16 24 1 9.8 10.7 2,419 1st
2014 30 3 1 10 18 0 13.4 11.7 3,031 11th*
Totals 466 69 33 192 290 39 11.7 10.9 6.1
Sources:[102][103][104]
  • * - Season in progress.

NASCAR Nationwide Series[edit]

Summary[edit]

Season Races Wins Poles Top 5 Top 10 DNF Finish Start Points Position Team(s)
1998[105] 3 0 0 0 0 0 24.3 34.3 275 67th ST Motorsports
CAA Performance Group
1999[106] 5 0 0 0 1 1 20.2 12.6 521 63rd Herzog Motorsports
2000[107] 31 0 0 0 6 3 18.4 19.5 3,264 10th Herzog Motorsports
2001[108] 33 1 0 4 9 4 16.2 17.6 3,871 8th Herzog Motorsports
2004[109] 1 0 0 1 1 0 20.0 3.0 170 98th Hendrick Motorsports
2005[110] 8 0 2 2 2 1 19.6 11.9 876 53rd Hendrick Motorsports
2006[111] 3 0 0 0 1 1 23.3 17.0 283 84th Hendrick Motorsports
2007[112] 3 0 0 1 2 1 14.0 15.7 387 82nd Hendrick Motorsports
2008[113] 4 0 0 0 1 2 22.2 10.0 396 69th JR Motorsports
2011[114] 1 0 0 1 1 0 2.0 6.0
JR Motorsports
2013[115] 1 0 0 0 0 0 12.0 7.0
JR Motorsports
Totals 93 1 2 9 24 13 18.2 17.1

* Season in progress.

Camping World Truck Series[edit]

Rolex Sports Car Series[edit]

Daytona Prototype[edit]

(key) Bold – Pole Position. (Overall Finish/Class Finish).

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Rank Points
2004 Howard Boss Motorsports DAY
(28/7)
HOM PHO MON WGL DAY MOH WGL HOM VIR BAR CAL 65th 23
2005 DAY
(2/2)
HOM CAL LGA MON WGL DAY BAR WGL MOH PHO WGL VIR MEX 70th 32
2007 Riley-Matthews Motorsports DAY
(36/19)
MEX HOM VIR LGA WGL MDO DAY
(9/9)
IOW BAR CGV WGL INF MIL 57th 34
2008 Bob Stallings Racing DAY
(2/2)
HOM MEX VIR LGA LRP WGL MOH DAY BAR CGL WGL INF JER MIL 56th 32
2009 DAY
(7/7)
VIR JER LGA WGL MOH DAY BAR WGL CGV MIL HOM 54th 24
2010 DAY
(21/8)
HOM BAR VIR LRP WGL
(6/6)
MOH DAY JER GLN CGV MIL 30th 48
2011 DAY
(15/12)
HOM BAR VIR LPR WGL ROA LGA JER WGL CGV MOH 59th 19

International Race of Champions[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position. * – Most laps led.)

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Achievements[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tony Stewart
Brad Keselowski
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
2013
Succeeded by
Tony Stewart
Incumbent
Preceded by
Fernando Alonso
Jesús Puras
Rubén Xaus
Race of Champions
Nations' Cup

2002 with:
Colin Edwards
Jeff Gordon
Succeeded by
Cristiano da Matta
Fonsi Nieto
Gilles Panizzi
Achievements
Preceded by
Ryan Newman
Mark Martin
Carl Edwards
Sprint All Star Race winner
2003
2006
2012-2013
Succeeded by
Matt Kenseth
Kevin Harvick
Jamie McMurray
Preceded by
Jeff Gordon
Matt Kenseth
Daytona 500 winner
2006
2013
Succeeded by
Kevin Harvick
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Preceded by
Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
Paul Menard
Brickyard 400 winner
2006
2008-2009
2012
Succeeded by
Tony Stewart
Jamie McMurray
Ryan Newman
Preceded by
Mark Martin
Coca Cola 600 winner
2003, 2004, 2005
Succeeded by
Kasey Kahne
Preceded by
Dale Jarrett
Bud Shootout winner
2005
Succeeded by
Denny Hamlin
Preceded by
Tony Stewart
Prelude to the Dream Winner
2010
Succeeded by
Clint Bowyer
Awards
Preceded by
Kevin Harvick
NASCAR EA cover athlete
(shared with Jeff Gordon)

2006
Succeeded by
Elliott Sadler