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Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson
Johnson in 2008.
Born September 17, 1975 (1975-09-17) (age 41)
El Cajon, California
Awards 7x NASCAR Champion
2006, 2013 Daytona 500 Winner
4x ESPY Awards Best Driver
2009 Associated Press Best Male Athlete of the Year
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series statistics
Car # - Team #48 - Hendrick Motorsports
Best pts finish 1st (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2016)
First race 2001 UAW-GM Quality 500
First win 2002 NAPA Auto Parts 500
NASCAR Xfinity Series statistics
Best pts finish 8th (2001)
First race 1999 Kroger 200
Last race 2013 Dollar General 200
First win 2001 Sam's Club 300

Jimmie Johnson (born September 17, 1975) is an American stock car racing driver. He drives the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet co-owned by Rick Hendrick and his former teammate Jeff Gordon for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson is a seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, tying him for the most all-time championships with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. In 2010 he became the first and only driver to win five consecutive NASCAR Cup Series Championships.[1] He was named Male Athlete of the Year in 2009 by the Associated Press and has won the ESPY Best Driver Award four times.

Early life and careerEdit

Johnson was born in El Cajon, California. He began his racing career on 50cc motorcycles at the age of six years old. Johnson was successful on motorcycles at an early age. By the time he was eight, he won the 60cc class championship despite injuring his knee with several races left in the season. From motorcycle racing he made the move onto four wheels and was picked up by Nelson & Nelson Racing. He went on to compete in several off-road leagues including SODA, SCORE International and Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group. During this time he was introduced to Herb Fischel who was the head of Motorsports at General Motors. This meeting would prove to be the most critical relationship in the furthering of his career until his relationship with Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick. 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. Johnson raced with Herzog-Jackson Motorsports in the 1996 and 1997 SODA series. Johnson was a field reporter for Marty Reid and ESPN in the SODA series.


In 1998, Johnson joined the American Speed Association (ASA) circuit, finishing fourth in the season while picking up Rookie of the Year honors. During this time, Johnson also began racing in the NASCAR Busch Series, driving in three events. In 1999, Johnson continued to run in both the ASA and the Busch Series, winning twice and finishing third in the ASA point race. By 2000, Johnson became a full time Busch Series driver with Herzog Motorsports, finished 10th in the points standings and third in the Rookie of the Year standings. He won his only Busch Series race in 2001 at the Hills Brothers Coffee 300 at Chicagoland Speedway in his 81st series event. After a mediocre finish to his second year in the NASCAR Busch series, Johnson was teamed up with 'Super' crew chief Chad Knaus.

During the 2000 Season, Johnson was left in a tight spot while racing in the NASCAR Busch Series. Herzog Motorsports, which had fielded Johnson's cars for much of his career, was in a dilemma after losing their sponsor, Alltel to Penske Racing shortly after Roger Penske's son Greg was named to Alltel's Board of Directors. During the driver's meeting before the Busch Series race at Michigan International Speedway, Johnson asked fellow NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon for advice. Gordon kept in touch with Johnson after the incident, and a few months later, Hendrick Motorsports, on Gordon's recommendation, offered him a driver development deal with the potential of advancing in 2002. Gordon would become a share owner of the 48 team that Johnson would end up driving for in 2002.

Johnson's pre-cup career is also noted for a crash that occurred at Watkins Glen in 2000 when the brakes on his car failed heading into turn one. With his car running almost at full-speed, Johnson crashed head-on into the Styrofoam insulation and guardrail. Surprisingly Johnson emerged from the car uninjured.

NASCAR Cup series careerEdit

Johnson has achieved many notable accomplishments throughout his brief Sprint Cup Series career. In his rookie season he became the first rookie in the Cup series to sweep both races at a track when he won both races at Dover International Speedway. He became the first rookie ever to lead in the point standings (and to date the only rookie to do so). He is the only driver to finish in the top five in the standings in his first seven full seasons. In 2009 Johnson won his fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, becoming the first driver in the sports history to win four consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championships. Johnson has also finished second twice (in 2003 and 2004) and has never finished below fifth place in the Sprint Cup series. Since his rookie season Johnson ranks second among all active drivers with an average of 4.5 wins a season (behind Gordon's 5.6) and second in average top 10 finishes a season with 21.25 (behind Tony Stewart's 21.28). In 2006, Johnson became the only driver to win the Daytona 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, Aaron's 499 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship all in the same year. Johnson is also the only driver to win three Coca-Cola 600s in a row. Johnson holds the track record at Lowe's Motor Speedway with four straight wins and five total point race wins. In 2007, he tied a NASCAR modern era record by winning four straight races, a feat last accomplished by Gordon in 1998.

2002 seasonEdit

Johnson began racing full-time in the Cup series in 2002. He won the pole at the 2002 Daytona 500 and ended up finishing the race in 15th place. His rookie season would only improve from there, winning three races, finishing in the top-10 21 times, and having an average finish of 13.5 for the year. Johnson's first Cup win was in his home state at California Speedway, in the NAPA Auto Parts 500. Later in the year, he won the MBNA Platinum 400 and MBNA All-American Heroes 400, both held at Dover. Despite finishing the most points of any modern era rookie (James Hylton has the highest points finish for a rookie: 2nd), he was runner-up to Ryan Newman for NASCAR Rookie of the Year because the Rookie of the Year is awarded based on a driver's 15 best finishes, not his total points.

2003 seasonEdit

For his 2003 Cup campaign, Johnson had three points-race victories: first winning the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and later sweeping both races at New Hampshire International Speedway, the New England 300 and the Sylvania 300. His 2003 Cup season statistics include 14 top-five finishes and 20 top-ten finishes, with an average finishing position of 11.4. Johnson finished the season second in the points standings to Matt Kenseth. Johnson got his first and second wins in back to back weekends by winning the The Winston on May 18 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 25, both at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Drivers competing in The Winston (now known as the Sprint All-Star Race) do not earn points.

2004 seasonEdit

In 2004, Johnson started slowly in weeks two and three at Rockingham and Las Vegas. However, he quickly rebounded with a week five win at the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. Subsequent victories at the Coca-Cola 600 and the Pocono 500 helped solidify his place in the Chase for the Cup, towards the end of the regular season. However, poor finishes at Talladega (37th) and Kansas (32nd) nearly sank his chances to win the NEXTEL Cup. He began to improve, with a victory at the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway

The second victory of the 2004 Chase, at the Subway 500 in Martinsville, Virginia on October 24, 2004, was marred by tragedy. Owner Rick Hendrick's son (Ricky Hendrick), 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.

Johnson passed Mark Martin with six laps to go the next week in Atlanta Motor Speedway to win the Bass Pro Shops/MBNA 500. Johnson won under the lights at Darlington in the final Mountain Dew Southern 500, and became the first driver since Gordon to win two legs of NASCAR's Grand Slam in a season. Despite this, Johnson's efforts would be futile as he would finish second in points to Kurt Busch by only 8 points, the closest points finish in NASCAR history. Johnson's 2004 Cup season statistics include 23 top-10 finishes, with an average finishing position of 12.1.

2005 seasonEdit

In 2005, Johnson stayed in the top five in the points standings all year, winning at Las Vegas, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, and then again at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In total, Johnson had four straight wins at his sponsor (Lowe's) sponsored track in Charlotte, North Carolina, and became only the second driver to win three consecutive races in one of NASCAR's majors (his car owner, Jeff Gordon, won four consecutive Southern 500 titles from 1995-1998, but that leg of the Grand Slam was eliminated in the Ferko lawsuit). 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. Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, and Mark Martin all finished ahead of the #48 Chevrolet. Johnson's 2005 Cup season statistics include 22 top-10 finishes with an average finishing position of 12.7.

2006 seasonEdit

Johnson won his first Daytona 500 on February 19, even though his regular crew chief, Chad Knaus, had been suspended after a rule infraction during qualifying. Darian Grubb was the crew chief when Johnson won the Daytona 500. His win was the second consecutive win at the Daytona 500 for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson finished second at the next race at California Speedway and then beat Matt Kenseth by half a car length with a pass on the final turn on the caution-extended UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Johnson became the eighth driver to win a Career Grand Slam by winning the Aaron's 499 at Talladega by passing teammate Brian Vickers at the start of the final lap, finishing off an unprecedented streak of six wins in the past eleven majors. He won the final segment and million dollar bonus in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. Johnson was trying to go for five straight wins at a superspeedway, but he finished second to Kasey Kahne at the 2006 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He came back from cutting his tire and going all the way down to 38th place to win the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis, joining Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Sr. as drivers to have won the Career Grand Slam and the Brickyard 400. After a horrible finish at New Hampshire to open the championship Chase, Johnson fell to 9th in points, but then he went on to win the Subway 500 at Martinsville, raising him to fourth in the standings to eventually win the championship. Johnson's 2006 season ended with a 9th place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway, winning his first career NEXTEL Cup Series Championship. His total winnings for the 2006 season were a record $15,770,125. On December 6, 2006 it was announced that he was voted the 2006 Driver of the Year, which is a unique award, as it covers all racing series in the United States. Johnson's 2006 Cup season statistics include 24 top-10 finishes with an average finishing position of 9.7.

2007 seasonEdit

Johnson's 2007 season began with a DNF after he was knocked out of the Daytona 500 when he was bumped into the infield. He recovered quickly with a third-place finish at California the next week, and went onto win the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, the Kobalt Tools 500, and the Goody's Cool Orange 500.

On May 6, 2007, Johnson won the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond. During the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, Johnson blew a tire and crashed hard into the outer wall. As the car erupted in flames, although suffering slight eyebrow burns, Johnson climbed out and was not injured.

On September 2, he clinched a position in The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup with his win at Fontana in the Sharp AQUOS 500; Johnson entered The Chase as the leader, with 5060 points, based on his six regular-season wins. The next week, he completed the Richmond double, by winning the Chevy Rock & Roll 400.

On October 21, Johnson won the Subway 500 at Martinsville for his seventh win of the season, breaking a tie with then-points leader Jeff Gordon for most wins on the season. On October 28, Johnson won again at the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, moving him to within nine points of Gordon in the race for the 2007 Nextel Cup Championship. Johnson donated all of his winnings from this race to the victims of the wildfires in San Diego, California.[2] He followed that victory with another at the Texas Motor Speedway on November 4. On November 11, he won his fourth straight race at Phoenix, making him the first driver since Gordon in 1998 to win four consecutive races.[3] Johnson's streak brought his win total for the year to ten, making him the first driver to win 10 or more times in a season since Gordon, who did it three consecutive years (the last being a record-tying 13-win season in 1998). With the win, Johnson joined Gordon (three times), Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip (twice), Bill Elliott, Cale Yarborough, and Richard Petty as the only modern-era drivers to win 10 or more times during a season.

He won his second straight championship on November 18, 2007 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 7th-place finish. He defeated Jeff Gordon by 77 points. The championship was the final one with NEXTEL as the series title sponsor. It was also the final championship to use cars based on the 1964 Holman Moody Ford Fairlane template.


2008 seasonEdit

Johnson started the season by finishing third in the 30th running of the Budweiser Shootout. He qualified first for the Daytona 500 and, having locked this position, finished 23rd in his Gatorade Duel, after pulling off the track early to protect his car. Johnson would finish 27th in the 50th running of the Daytona 500, after an incident late in the race

Johnson started on the pole for the Auto Club 500 due to rain canceling qualifying, and the field being determined by 2007 owner points.

Qualifying for the Food City 500 at Bristol was rained out, so the starting grid was set by 2007 owners points. Since Johnson was the 2007 champion, he would start on the pole.

Johnson qualified 7th for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix. He dominated the race, leading a race-high 120 laps. In the final laps, Johnson played the fuel mileage game as the other leaders headed to pit road for gas. Johnson went the distance and won over Clint Bowyer, his first win in 2008.

Johnson won the pole for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. In a wild race of cautions, Johnson held off Carl Edwards to win his 2nd race of the year, and his 2nd at Indy.

Johnson earned his second straight pole a the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 and finished third in the race

After a string of bad luck at Michigan and Bristol, Johnson earned the pole for the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway and dominated the race from start, leading 227 of the 250 laps raced. He won his third of the season and third win at the track.

Johnson started third in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 due to the cancellation of qualifying because Tropical Storm Hanna. He battled Tony Stewart late in the race to go on and win the 37th race of his career and his 3rd Richmond win.

Johnson started first and finished first in three races during the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup: the Camping World RV 400 at Kansas, the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville, and the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix. He also earned two other poles during the Chase: the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta.

After starting 30th, Johnson crossed the finish line in 15th and gained his third straight championship at the Ford 400.[4] He became only the second driver to accomplish this.[4]


2009 seasonEdit

During the Daytona Speedweeks in February Johnson started 21st and finished 14th at the Budweiser Shootout and finished 3rd during the Gatorade Duels (1). After a slow start to the season he finally finished first at Martinsville Speedway by passing Denny Hamlin with 16 laps to go. Dover was the next place where he would win. At the Coke Zero 400 race in Daytona on July 4, Johnson finished second. He received 170 points and is third in standings for the Chase (2525 points). He stands behind Tony Stewart (2719 points) and Jeff Gordon (2539 points). On 26 July 2009, Johnson won the Brickyard 400 for the third time which moved him to second place in the point standings.He is also the only driver to win back to back (2008,2009) in the Brickyard 400.

On August 7, 2009 Jimmie beat Kurt Busch to get his first pole at a road course during qualifying at the Glen. In both races at Michigan, Jimmie dominated both races only to run out of fuel with a few laps to go. During the Sharpie 500 at Bristol, Jimmie was leading with 60 laps to go when a late pit stop went wrong-the rear tire lug nuts were jammed. The tire they put on was loose when the jack man let the car down too early. He would finish the race in 8th place. Johnson qualified for the Chase following the 2009 regular season and remained in his third place position following the re-seeding. Johnson finished 4th in the New Hampshire race, the first one in the chase. This moved him to second place in points behind Mark Martin, who won the race. In the second race of the chase at Dover driver Johnson started on the pole and led 276 laps of 400 to complete the season sweep.

At Kansas, Johnson finished 9th. He started in 3rd place and led 126 laps at Fontana and went on to win, putting him in first place over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin by twelve points. During the fifth race of the chase at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, Johnson dominated practice and won the pole for the NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America. Johnson went on to win the race, making it a four year sweep of winning both the fall and spring races at his home sponsor's track. Johnson has three wins so far in the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup which brings his season total to seven for first place in driver wins thus far in 2009. He is now 184 points ahead of Mark Martin for first place in the NASCAR 2009 Sprint Cup Championship standings. Johnson then picked up a victory at Charlotte. At Martinsville Jimmie would qualify 15th and finish as runner up to Denny Hamlin.

At Talladega, Johnson spent most of the race in the back in the hopes of avoiding "the big one" that usually happens during the race. Crew chief Chad Kanus had Johnson pit at lap 184 from 25th place when Ryan Newman crashed. The red flag was put out to clean up the track, and then many cars had to pit for fuel or ran out of fuel when the yellow flag came back out, including Jeff Gordon. With all the other drivers pitting, Johnson was able to move up to the top ten, and was able to finish 6th. This seventh consecutive top ten finish gives Johnson a points lead of 184 over Mark Martin with only three races remaining in the chase. At Texas, he started 12th but was in an accident on lap 3 as the 00 gave 77 a push and got him loose then the 77 car slamed into Jimmie's car which spun out and hit the inside wall. The Lowe's crew then got to work to fix the car and their championship hopes. He would finish 38th in that race, but he is still the points leader by 73 points ahead of Mark Martin. He bounced back to win the following race at Phoenix International Raceway and held a 108 point lead over Martin. Entering the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami speedway, he only needed a 25th place finish or better to join his teammate Jeff Gordon, Ron Hornaday, Dale Earnhardt, and Richard Petty as the only drivers to win 4+ titles in the three major series of NASCAR. Most importantly, the first to win four straight titles in NASCAR history. From a 30th starting posistion last year Jimmie started the championship weekend well by beating Mark Matin for the pole. During the week before the Ford 400 in Homestead Florida, Jimmie Johnson renewed his contract that is valid until 2015; his sponsor Lowe's also renewed their contract with the 48 team that will be valid at least until 2013. At Homestead-Miami Speedway Jimmie Johnson would finish 5th while teammate Mark Martin finished 12th, giving Johnson an unprecedented fourth consecutive Sprint Cup championship. Johnson also earned his fourth title in the fewest number of races (291, one sooner than Jeff Gordon).


The Jimmie Johnson Foundation Edit

Jimmie Johnson launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation in February 2006. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. The Foundation strives to help everyone, particularly children, pursue their dreams.
MF11040

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation supports charitable organizations that further the mission of the foundation. Current and past projects include granting wishes for children through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, assisting the American Red Cross with disaster relief efforts, building a four-lane bowling alley for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses at the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and hosting a golf tournament in San Diego to raise funds to build a Habitat for Humanity home in Jimmie’s home town of El Cajon.

In 2007, 2008, and 2009, Johnson won at his home track, Auto Club Speedway, in a special Jimmie Johnson Foundation paint scheme.

Tony Pedregon, NHRA drag racer, has raced a Jimmie Johnson Foundation paint scheme at the 2009 event at Bristol Dragway. Pedregon's sponsors Quaker State and Herzog both have ties with Johnson.


Other racingEdit

Johnson participated in two Grand Am Rolex Sports Car series races in 2007; Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona (January 24-28) and the Porsche Brumos 250 at Daytona (July 5). His NASCAR sponsor Lowe's paired him up with the Riley factory entry driven by Jim Mathews and Marc Goossens.

Johnson has also participated in some more-recent off-road events, including a winning drive with Team USA at the 2002 Race of Champions. Johnson appeared at the event again in 2004 and was scheduled to appear alongside Travis Pastrana at the event in Paris's Stade de France on December 16, 2006. Due to an injury, he was not able to drive in the race, but still went to offer support as a consultant also in dirt truck racing.

Personal lifeEdit

Johnson attended Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California near San Diego. He went to the same high school as friend and current free-agent second baseman Marcus Giles. His No.48 is retired at his school for all sports. Johnson has been married to Chandra Janway since December 11, 2004.

He is an avid San Diego Padres and San Diego Chargers fan as they are his hometown teams. He also follows the Atlanta Braves and the Carolina Panthers (His adopted team since he is now based in North Carolina; the latter is based in Charlotte, close to Lowe's headquarters in Mooresville, NC). As is the custom on Fox's NFC Championship Game broadcasts (or Super Bowl when Fox has the Super Bowl that year), Jimmie appeared on the post-game show for the 2007 NFC Championship game when the Chicago Bears defeated the New Orleans Saints (The NASCAR Sprint Cup champion makes an appearance during that game). His interview aired directly opposite of the opening kickoff of the AFC Championship game.

Johnson maintains strong ties to the San Diego area. He is a part of one of the local San Diego Chevy dealers that carries his name (along with owner Rick Hendrick). Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet in the Kearny Mesa section of San Diego County. Jimmie was named San Diego's Pro-Athlete of the Year by the San Diego Hall of Champions on January 31, 2007. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders also proclaimed October 9, Jimmie Johnson Day.

Johnson formerly hosted a weekly radio show, "Not What You Expected", on XM Satellite Radio. Marty Smith, NASCAR journalist and friend of Johnson's, hosted it with him. They had numerous guests on the show including Major League Baseball player and Johnson's high school friend Marcus Giles, fellow drivers Brian Vickers, Matt Kenseth, and Jeff Gordon, crew chief Chad Knaus, singer and friend Nick Lachey, and others.

In November 2009 Johnson signed a mini-series deal with HBO for a NASCAR based reality show, like the Dallas Cowboys did in 2008. Cameras will follow Johnson from January up to the 2010 Daytona 500.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Jimmie Johnson wins 5th straight title
  2. Johnson donated his winnings from this race to the California wildfire victims
  3. "Johnson wins fourth in a row". Associated Press. LA Times (2007-11-11). Retrieved on 2007-11-11.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fryer, Jenna (November 16, 2008). "Johnson wins record-tying 3rd Cup title". Associated Press. Retrieved on 2008-11-17.
  5. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ho62LJW306wV_lxFdCbZVkRafV8AD9BBSH1G0

External linksEdit

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