Jimmie Johnson (born September 17, 1975, El Cajon, California) this year winner of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series is the Hendrick Motorsports driver of the car # 48, a Chevrolet own by his team mate Jeff Gordon.
Like any other driver Johnson begun his racing career very young, at the age of five, on a 50cc motorcycle. At eight years he won his first competition, the 60cc class championship. From motorcycles Johnson moved to several off-road leagues including SODA, SCORE International and Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group. In these three competitions he accumulated over 25 wins, 100 top-three finishes, six championships, and received Rookie of the Year honors in all three leagues. In the 1996 and 1997 SODA series he raced with Herzog Motorsports.
In 1998 he joined the American Speed Association (ASA) circuit, finishing fourth in the season, and picking up Rookie of the Year honors. During this time, Johnson also began racing in the NASCAR Busch Series, driving in three events: Indianapolis Raceway Park, Gateway International Raceway, and Homestead Miami Speedway. In 1999, Johnson continued to run in both the ASA and the Busch Series (The Milwaukee Mile, North Carolina Speedway, Memphis Motorsports Park, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead Miami Speedway), winning twice and finishing third in the ASA point race.
In 2000 he became a Busch Series driver with Herzog Motorsports, finished 10th in the point’s standings and third in the Rookie of the Year standings. In 2001 he won his first NASCAR Busch Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, and he finished eighth in the final competition. Also in 2001 he participated in his first NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 7.
Nextel Cup Series
Johnson began racing in the Cup series in 2002 obtaining three victories in rookie campaign - twice at Dover Downs and once at California Speedway, the first rookie in series history to sweep both races at a track. In 2002 he finished 5th obtaining three victories, six top-5 and 21 top-10 finishes. He also had the fastest qualifier time at Daytona 500, Talladega Superspeedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and Richmond International Raceway.
In 2003 he finished the season second, had three wins – Lowe’s Motor Speedway and twice at New Hampshire International Raceway – 14 top-5 and 20 top-10 finishes.
In 2004 Johnson finished second in points to Kurt Busch by only 8 points, the closest points finish in NASCAR history, he won times, had 20 top-5 and 23 top-10 finishes.
In 2005 he lost the chance to win the Series after crashing at the midway point of the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a tire problem, and finished the championship 5th. He had 4 victories, 13 top-5 and 22 top-10 finishes and he lead the point standings for 17 weeks during the season.
2006 was the perfect season for Jimmie Johnson. He won his first NASCAR Nextel Cup championship with 5 victories, 13 top-5 and 24 top-10 finishes. He lead the point standings for 25 of 36 weeks and he was voted Driver if the Year, a unique award that covers all racing series in the United States.
2007 brought to Jimmie Johnson his second consecutive NASCAR Nextel Cup championship trophy. It was an interesting year that finished with Jimmie’s victory over his team mate Jeff Gordon. In 2007 Jimmie won 10 races, had 20 top-5 and 24 top-10 finishes.
Jimmie Johnson is also willing to help those who are in need, so in February 2006 Jimmie and his wife Chandra launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, a foundation dedicated to assisting children to pursue their dreams, families and communities in need throughout the United States.