Jimmie Johnson is rapidly heading up the list of NASCAR’s all-time greats. He has racked up over 50 wins and taken every Sprint Cup title since 2006, the first man to win five in a row. He is now developing an aura of invincibility in the late-season championship that decides the king of the biggest US race series.
Johnson actually started out on two wheels, racing on 50cc motorbikes aged just four years old. Within four years he won the 60cc class championship despite injuring his knee with several races left.
He earned Rookie of the Year honours in SODA, SCORE and MTEG series before repeating the feat with the ASA in 1998. By 2000 Johnson was racing full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, before switching to the Winston Cup proper in 2002.
Johnson won the ROC Nations Cup for the USA on his debut the same year alongside Jeff Gordon and Colin Edwards. He was due to appear after his first NASCAR title in 2006 but broke his arm. After a similar fate befell Scott Speed, Travis Pastrana flew the flag alone and reached the final, cheered on by a delighted Johnson.
2009: Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year
1998: American Speed Association (ASA) Rookie of the Year
1996-1997: SODA Winter Series Champion
1994: SCORE Desert Series Champion
Years contested: 2002, 2004 & 2007. He was unable to take part in 2006 due to a broken arm but attended the event regardless
2002: Won the ROC Nations Cup for Team USA alongside Jeff Gordon and Colin Edwards