News & Multimedia

Brickyard Super Weekend Profile: Jimmie Johnson

If the prototypical NASCAR driver of the past hailed from the South and had roots in the moonshine industry, the modern-day blueprint is Jimmie Johnson.

The 36-year old from El Cajon, California says Rick Mears is his hero and admits that his first dream was to race in the Indianapolis 500. But after cutting his racing teeth in off-road racing like Mears, Johnson beat a fast track to stock car competition and he has established himself as the top driver in NASCAR’s “Chase” era.

Johnson is often viewed as a protégé of NASCAR star Jeff Gordon, who is actually the co-owner of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet that Johnson drives in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Since 2001, Johnson has driven the #48 car to 57 race wins and five consecutive Sprint Cup championships from 2006-10.

Johnson and his longtime crew chief Chad Knaus have been particularly effective at mastering NASCAR’s “Chase” playoff format. Their formula has been to use races leading into the Chase as test sessions to perfect their car setups for the events that count at the end of the year. In several of his championship campaigns, Johnson got off to a strong start in the Chase that allowed him to run consistently for points down the stretch while his opponents had to resort to desperate tactics in search of wins.

Johnson has found repeated success at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He’s a three-time winner of the Brickyard 400 (2006, ’08 and ’09), and this year he also considered competing in the inaugural Grand-Am Rolex Series race in a GAINSCO Racing entry.

“It’s such a tough race,” Johnson said of the Brickyard 400. “There are only a couple tracks on our schedule that, when you walk into the track, you feel the history of the facility. It’s argued back and forth whether Daytona or Indianapolis is more prestigious and important and it’s tough for me to pick one, but they’re both very special. I’m very fortunate to have won both of them.

“For me, it’s kind of a draw between the two,” he added. “I grew up in an IndyCar household and didn’t know much about stock car racing and always dreamed of racing in the Indy 500. But from a driver’s standpoint, a driver is a lot more responsible for the results and the performance at Indy than you are at Daytona. We do put a little bit more effort into the Brickyard and start earlier. Instead of a couple of weeks out, it’s a month or two months out, just massaging the car. The engine shop usually shows up with a little bit of something new for us, with a little bit more power, typically. And it really pays off with having those long straightaways.”

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Brickyard Super Weekend Profile: Jimmie Johnson
Brickyard Super Weekend Profile: Jimmie Johnson
If the prototypical NASCAR driver of the past hailed from the South and had roots in the moonshine industry, the modern-day blueprint is Jimmie Johnson.
Read More
Related Media
Kevin Harvick
Harvick Wins at Kansas, Clinches Spot in Round of 8
With his second victory at Kansas, his fourth of the season and the 35th of his career, Harvick joined last week's Charlotte winner, Jimmie Johnson, in the Chase's Round of 8 and erased the specter of racing under pressure next Sunday in the crapshoot that is Talladega.
Read More
Torch Relay
Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay’s Final Day Includes Stop at IMS
On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 15, before heading to downtown Indianapolis, the Torch Relay will pass through the “Racing Capital of the World.” And it will do so in a distinctly IMS way – on a two-seat IndyCar driven by former IndyCar driver and team owner Sarah Fisher.
Read More
Jimmie Johnson
Johnson Wins at Charlotte, Locks in Round of 8 Spot
Taking the lead from Matt Kenseth after a restart on Lap 317 of 334, Johnson pulled away to win by 1.474 seconds over the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Johnson put his No. 48 Chevrolet in Victory Lane for the third time this season, the eighth time at Charlotte – the third since the repaving of the track in March 2006 – and the 78th time in his career.
Read More
Chase Field
Chase Field Locked Following Regular Season Finale
Denny Hamlin won a wild race at his home track, and the top four Chase hopefuls entering Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 all held serve at Richmond International Raceway in an event that ended in overtime after a record 16 cautions.
Read More
Mutt Strut
Mutt Strut Returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2017
The Humane Society of Indianapolis is excited to announce the return of Mutt Strut to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On Saturday, April 29, 2017, thousands of people and their furry friends will hit the track to walk for the animals. 2017 will mark IndyHumane’s 14th annual Mutt Strut.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 706
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at
Latest Tweets
Donald Davidson's touching piece as we all remember and honor Tony Adamowicz who passed away earlier this month.…
October 21