Jimmie Johnson BiographyLike many NASCAR stars, Jimmie Johnson got into racing young, very young. Born September 17, 1975, he started racing motorcycles at age 5. At age 8 he won the 60cc class championship. He competed in several off-road leagues including SODA and SCORE International both of which named him Rookie of the Year. Graduating from motorcycles to the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group (MTEG) Stadium Racing Series, he continued his winning ways with more than 25 wins and another Rookie of the Year award.
In 1998, after coming to the attention of Herb Fishel, Executive Director of GM Racing, Johnson joined the ASA circuit. He finished fourth for the season while, again, picking up Rookie of the Year honors. That year he also raced in three NASCAR Busch Series events. He continued to run in both the ASA and the Busch Series in 1999. He won twice and finishing third in the ASA point race. In 2000, Johnson became a Busch Series driver with Herzog Motorsports. He finished 10th in the over all points standings and third in the race for Rookie of the Year. His first Busch Series victory came in 2001 at the inaugural Hills Brothers Coffee 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
"The biggest thing is confidence. I know my abilities. I know that if I'm out there and put in 100%, I have a shot at winning the race and that's all you can really ask for as a driver." ~ Jimmie Johnson
Also in 2001, Jimmie made his first Nextel Cup Series appearance in the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Oct. 7 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. 2002 was his break-through year. He won three Nextel (Winston) Cup Races - twice at Dover Downs and once at California Speedway, finished in the top five 6 times, and finished in the top ten 21 times. He also earned four poles. In the process he became the first rookie to ever lead in the point standings. He eventually finished fifth. Despite his success, Ryan Newman edged him out for Rookie of the Year honors.
"When I left the drivers meeting at Homestead last year, I grabbed him on the shoulder and he looked at me and I said, 'Buddy, when I grow up I want to be like you.' I truly meant that. The guy has so much class, so much fire." ~ Jimmie Johnson talking about Mark Martin
In 2003, Johnson finished second to Matt Kenseth in the Nextel Cup point standings amassing three wins (once at Charlotte and twice at New Hampshire), 14 top-fives, 20 top-10s and two poles (Pocono and Kansas). For his win at The Winston All-Star race, run at Lowe's Motor Speedway, he took home a purse of $1 million.
2004 was a banner year for Jimmie Johnson. After a slow start, he shifted into high gear and accumulated 8 victories, 20 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes. In the first Chase for the Cup, he finished second to Kurt Busch. The season was marred by tragedy, however, when a plane carrying several members of the Hendrick's family, including Rick's son Ricky, crashed en route to the Subway 500 in Martinsville, Virginia.
"You can find a way to move on and you can look forward. But every time I see Rick, I just see the hurt in his eyes...and Linda...and Diane Dorton....you can just go down the list through everyone who was on the plane. You just hurt for them." ~ Jimmie Johnson regarding the October 24, 2004 plane crash that claimed 8 lives including Rick Hendrick's son, Ricky, his brother and his nieces.
2005 saw Jimmie notch 4 wins, 13 top-five finishes, and 22 top-tens. He was in the hunt for the Nextel Cup until he blew a tire and crashed in the season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway. Still, he finished fifth in the chase. Number 48's two wins at Lowe's Motor Speedway made it five straight for Jimmie at his sponsor's sponsored track in Charlotte.
Not one to be discouraged, Jimmie remained optimistic about his Lowe's Home Improvement team's chances in 2006. "It's all good," he said. "We'll get 'em next year." And he was soooo right. Not only did he win the 2006 Daytona 500, Jimmy went on to win a total of 5 races with 13 top fives and 24 top tens, qualified for the Chase, and ultimately won the Nextel Cup Championship. He, then, went on to win an unprecedented 5 Consecutive championships. Congratulations, Jimmy. It is all good! (Ace's Bio-Farm)
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