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
Colin Edwards
 
Colin Edwards to Lap Indy on Yamaha 60th Anniversary YZR-M1
Fans attending the Red Bull Indianapolis GP will get a special treat on Sunday morning, August 9. Two-time Superbike World Champion Colin Edwards will lap the 16-turn, 2.591-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course aboard a special Yamaha YZR-M1 featuring yellow-and-black, 60th Anniversary livery.
Read More
Josef Newgarden
 
Newgarden Looks to Continue Upward Mobility at Mid-Ohio
Josef Newgarden made a lot of new fans last year at Mid-Ohio. The third-year IndyCar driver came tantalizingly close to earning his first Verizon IndyCar Series win, and if it weren’t for a problematic final pit stop, the Tennessee native could have gone on to victory for the upstart Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team.
Read More
Aaron Colton
 
Wide Range of Activities on Tap for Red Bull Indianapolis GP Weekend
From high-flying Red Bull skydivers to a bustling marketplace to the fastest two-wheeled athletes in the world, the eighth Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 7-9 is shaping up to be the best yet.
Read More
Vendor Marketplace Presented by Westfield Powersports
 
Vendor Marketplace presented by Westfield Powersports Returns to Red Bull Indianapolis GP
Indiana-based Westfield Powersports is returning for a second year with its popular Vendor Marketplace during the eighth Red Bull Indianapolis GP at IMS, Aug. 7-9.
Read More
Kyle Busch
 
Reorder 2016 Tickets Now to Get Special Deals for Crown Royal Presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard
As a special thank you to the world’s greatest race fans, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is offering special pricing for selected days to those who reorder their 2016 Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard tickets by Monday, Aug. 10.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,003
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 lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Only 9 laps left of #MassAveCrit! Are you here?? http://t.co/euUXIBIIlB
about 9 hours ago