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Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson is an American NASCAR driver. With an impressive record of seven NASCAR Cup Series championships, he currently competes part-time in the series, driving the No. 84 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Legacy Motor Club. Johnson's remarkable seven Cup championships, including five consecutive titles, are tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most championships in NASCAR history. In addition to his NASCAR career, Johnson ventured into the IndyCar Series with Chip Ganassi Racing from 2021 to 2022, and he has also made occasional appearances in sports car racing throughout his successful career. Read everything about the American driver on this page.

Jimmie johnson nascar racingnews365 © Chris Graythen / Getty Images

Early life of Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Kenneth Johnson was born on September 17 1975 in El Cajon, California. Johnson's racing career began in 1980 at the age of four, when he started racing motorcycles. Just three years later, despite injuring his knee, he managed to secure the 60cc class championship. Johnson then transitioned to the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group (MTEG) Stadium Racing Series, where he continued to excel and earn numerous accolades. In 1993, he had an opportunity to drive for Herb Fishel but declined the offer, opting instead to focus on off-road stadium and desert races in buggies and trucks. He also worked as a reporter for ESPN in the Short-course Off-road Drivers Association (SODA). Johnson eventually joined Herzog Motorsports in the off-road truck series in 1996. By 1997, he had advanced to SODA's Class 8, which is known for its two-wheel-drive Trophy Trucks generating approximately 800 horsepower. During that season, Johnson competed against Scott Taylor and Brendan Gaughan for the championship, winning both races at Lake Geneva Raceway and securing victories at Antigo and Lake Geneva in July. Although he finished third overall, Johnson showcased his skills and determination throughout his off-road racing career, including notable moments like leading over 900 miles in the 1995 Baja 1000 before an unfortunate incident caused him to veer off course.

Jimmie Johnson in ASA and Bush Series

In 1997, Johnson began competing on asphalt ovals in the American Speed Association (ASA) and made his debut at Hawkeye Downs Speedway. He joined Herzog Motorsports' stock car program and earned the ASA Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie title in 1998. Over the following years, he achieved two wins and a third-place finish in the standings. Johnson also participated in NASCAR Busch Series (now NASCAR Xfinity Series) races, making his debut in 1998 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. He initially had a limited schedule with Herzog Motorsports but transitioned to full-time racing in 2000. Despite facing challenges, such as a severe accident at Watkins Glen International, where his brakes failed, Johnson showcased his resilience and determination in the face of adversity. In 2001, he secured a victory at Chicagoland Speedway and finished eighth in the point standings. It was during this time that Johnson connected with Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports, leading to his eventual move to the team in 2002, where he would drive the No. 48 Lowe's-sponsored Chevrolet.

Jimmie Johnson NASCAR

From 2002-2005, Johnson started his full-time racing career in the Winston Cup Series. He achieved notable milestones as a rookie, including his first pole position in the Daytona 500 and his first career win at the NAPA Auto Parts 500. Johnson became the first rookie to lead the point standings and win twice at the same track in a season. Despite a strong performance, he finished fifth in the final standings and lost the Rookie of the Year title to Ryan Newman.

In 2003, Johnson had a successful season with three wins, two poles, and multiple top finishes. He finished second in the overall standings, narrowly missing out on the championship. In 2004, Johnson faced some setbacks but managed to win eight races, including a victory at the Subway 500, overshadowed by a tragic plane crash involving team owner Rick Hendrick's family members and employees. Johnson finished second in the championship that year.

Johnson continued to perform well in 2005, winning four races, including the Coca-Cola 600. However, a crash in the season finale prevented him from contending for the championship, and he finished fifth in the standings.

From 2006 to 2010, Johnson embarked on an unprecedented championship streak. In 2006, he won his first championship title, thanks to a strong finish in the playoffs. In 2007, Johnson recorded 10 wins and successfully defended his championship. He also won the AP Male Athlete of the Year award, becoming the first racing driver to receive the honor. In 2008, Johnson secured his third consecutive championship, becoming only the second driver in history to achieve this feat. In 2009, he made history by winning his fourth consecutive championship, setting a new record. Johnson's dominance continued in 2010, as he clinched his fifth straight championship, becoming the third driver to achieve this milestone.

In 2011, Johnson had a relatively challenging season, winning only two races and finishing sixth in the standings. The following year, he faced more difficulties, including crashes and lower finishes. Johnson finished sixth in the 2011 standings and finished 34th in the 2012 season finale, ultimately relinquishing his championship streak to Tony Stewart.

Jimmie Johnson driver around the Martinsville Speedway in 2009 © XPB Images

Poor season and comeback

Johnson had a mixed season in 2012 with crashes and retirements in some races. He had notable finishes, including a win in the Bojangles' Southern 500 and the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. He faced challenges and setbacks but managed to secure three straight Top 5 finishes in the NASCAR Chase for the Championship. However, his chances of winning the championship were dashed in the final race due to pit road penalties and a gear failure.

The American driver made a strong comeback in 2013, winning the Daytona 500 and securing multiple top finishes. He dominated at Martinsville, leading 346 of 500 laps and winning the race. Johnson held the point lead for the rest of the regular season, showcasing consistent performances. He won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race for a record fourth time and continued to perform well in subsequent races. Johnson won his sixth championship title after a solid performance in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, finishing with six wins, three poles, and 24 Top 10 finishes.

Jimmie Johnson in 2015

Johnson started his season strong with a win in the Budweiser Duel. He had consistent finishes in the Daytona 500, Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, and California. He faced some struggles at Martinsville but bounced back with a win at Texas. At Talladega, he finished second to Earnhardt Jr. Johnson took a gamble at Kansas and secured his third win of the season. He had mixed results at Charlotte but rebounded with a win at Dover. He faced some challenges at Pocono and Michigan but had a solid performance at Sonoma. Johnson had strong showings at Daytona, Kentucky, Pocono, and Watkins Glen. He experienced some setbacks at Michigan and Darlington but recovered with a ninth-place finish at Richmond. In the Chase, he had a tough start at Chicagoland but finished sixth at Loudon. His Chase hopes ended at Dover due to car issues. Johnson had a triumphant win at Texas, marking his 75th career win. He finished consistently at Phoenix and Homestead, securing a 10th place in the final standings and becoming the active wins record holder.

Johnson's seventh title

Johnson kicked off the 2016 season with a 16th-place finish at the Daytona 500. He secured his first win of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, tying Dale Earnhardt's career wins record. He had consistent finishes in Las Vegas and Phoenix, and his second victory came at the Auto Club 400. Johnson faced some challenges at Bristol and Talladega but had notable performances at Richmond and Texas. He encountered misfortune in subsequent races but managed top finishes at the Coca-Cola 600 and Brickyard 400. In the Chase, Johnson had strong showings at Chicagoland and Loudon but experienced setbacks at Dover. He redeemed himself with a win at Charlotte, securing a spot in the "Round of 8." Johnson triumphed at Martinsville, advancing to the Championship 4. He clinched his seventh championship at Homestead by avoiding a major wreck and winning the race.

In 2017, Johnson had a challenging start to the NASCAR Cup Series season with only one Top 10 finish in the first six races. However, he bounced back with consecutive wins at Texas and Bristol. His third win came at Dover, tying him with Cale Yarborough for 83 career victories. The rest of the season was difficult for Johnson, with crashes at Pocono and Indianapolis and a slump during the summer. Although he qualified for the playoffs, Johnson's performance in the final rounds was underwhelming, leading to his elimination at Phoenix. He finished 10th in the final standings.

In his final season with Knaus and Lowe's in 2018, Johnson faced challenges from the start, experiencing wrecks in all three of his Speedweeks races. Despite qualifying well for the Daytona 500, he was caught in a multi-car wreck and finished 38th. Throughout the season, Johnson struggled, earning only two Top 5 finishes and eight Top 10 finishes. He barely made the playoffs for the 15th consecutive season but was eliminated in the Round of 16. Johnson's only notable performance came at the Charlotte Roval race, where he battled for the win but spun out in the final lap. He finished 14th in the final standings, his worst since 2002. Additionally, Lowe's announced they would no longer sponsor his car after the season, and Johnson and Knaus ended their 17-year partnership.

In the 2019 season, Johnson had a positive start by winning the Advance Auto Parts Clash and finishing eighth in the first duel race. In the Daytona 500, he encountered damage but managed to finish ninth. However, subsequent races brought disappointing results, with finishes ranging from 24th to 19th. Johnson's performance improved with a pole position and a top-five finish at Texas. He also achieved notable finishes of eighth, fourth, and third in later races. Amidst the season, Cliff Daniels replaced Meendering as Johnson's crew chief. Johnson missed the playoffs for the first time in his career after a crash in the Brickyard 400. Despite scoring four more top-10 finishes, he ended the season in 18th place, going winless for the second consecutive year. On a positive note, Ally extended its sponsorship of the No. 48 car for three more years.

In 2020, Johnson declared that it would be his final full-time season. He began the season with strong performances at the Daytona 500 and the Busch Clash. However, he faced challenges in subsequent races, including crashes and disqualification. Johnson's season was further impacted by a positive COVID-19 test, forcing him to miss a race. Despite his misfortunes, he had notable moments such as a top-five finish at the Daytona road course. In the playoffs, Johnson narrowly missed out on a playoff spot but managed to achieve a fifth-place finish in his last race at Phoenix. Overall, he ended the season with 10 top-10 finishes. In 2023, Johnson became an owner in Petty GMS Motorsports and announced his part-time return to the Cup Series, starting with an attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 as a member of Legacy Motor Club. Johnson finished 31st in the race after being involved in a crash during overtime.

Jimmie Johnson IndyCar Series

In 2020, Johnson pursued his childhood dream of driving an IndyCar. He had a test scheduled with Arrow McLaren SP, which was canceled due to the pandemic. Another test with Chip Ganassi Racing was postponed when he tested positive for COVID-19. The CGR test finally took place, and Johnson expressed his passion for IndyCar racing. In September 2020, he announced a part-time deal with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2021 and 2022 seasons, focusing on road and street courses. However, Ganassi's NASCAR operations were sold in 2021. Initially hesitant about racing on ovals, Johnson eventually agreed to an oval test at Texas to prepare for the Indianapolis 500. In his IndyCar journey, Johnson faced challenges, struggled at the back of the field, and encountered spins and accidents.

In December 2021, Johnson announced his decision to compete in the full 2022 IndyCar schedule with Chip Ganassi Racing, driving the No. 48 car. He achieved a career-best sixth-place finish in his first oval race at Texas. Johnson made his debut at the Indianapolis 500, leading laps and earning Rookie of the Year honors despite a late race crash. He secured his first top-five IndyCar finish at Iowa Speedway in July 2022. On September 26, 2022, Johnson revealed his plan to step back from full-time racing.

Jimmie Johnson receiving his Rookie of the Year trophy after the 2022 Indianapolis 500. © Walt Kuhn / IndyCar Series

Personal life of Jimmie Johnson

Johnson, born in El Cajon, California, has two younger brothers who have also raced professionally. He attended Granite Hills High School, where he excelled in various sports and graduated in 1993. Johnson resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, like many NASCAR drivers. He married Chandra Janway, whom he has known since 2002, and they have two daughters.

Apart from racing, Johnson is a dedicated triathlete and frequently participates in triathlons and long-distance running events. He even competed in the Boston Marathon in 2019, achieving a time of 3:09:07.

Johnson had a close friendship with fellow NASCAR competitor Blaise Alexander, and in honor of Alexander's memory, Johnson's car features a flame decal with Alexander's initials. Additionally, after the tragic plane crash that claimed the life of Rick Hendrick's son, Ricky, and nine others, the tail number of the crashed Hendrick plane was added alongside Alexander's initials.

How old is Jimmie Johnson?

Johnson was born on September 17, 1975, which makes him currently 47 years old.

How tall is Jimmie Johnson?

Jimmie Johnson's height is 5 feet 11 inches tall. His body weight is 75 kilograms.

Jimmy Johnson

Johnson's first name is often misspelled: people regularly write Jimmy Johnson instead of Jimmie Johnson. Jimmy Johnson is a well-known American football coach.

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