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
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Can Anyone Break Away on Sunday? Previewing the '500'
Scott Dixon doesn’t envision one car running away from 32 others in Sunday’s 99th Indianapolis 500, but Ryan Hunter-Reay insists it’s possible.
Read More
Indianapolis 500 Pace Car
 
IMS Partners with Snapchat for 99th Indianapolis 500 'Live Story'
Snapchat, the ephemeral storytelling platform embraced by millions of users on mobile devices, is partnering with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to create a Live Story for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Read More
Sage Karam
 
New Biotelemetry Technology Will Get "Inside" Drivers During '500' Telecast
ABC’s telecast of Sunday’s 99th Indianapolis 500 will introduce the use of biotelemetry, a high-tech sensing system that will, in real time, give viewers the heart and respiration rate as well as calorie burn rate of two drivers competing in the race.
Read More
Justin Wilson
 
Wilson to Drive Rolling Stones Themed Car for Indianapolis 500
On Sunday, May 24, when the green flag waves at the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, there will be another reason to say “Start Me Up!” This year’s Andretti Autosport No. 25 car will bring together two of the world’s best known names, The Rolling Stones and Andretti, as the car will be wrapped in a full front-to-back Rolling Stones ZIP CODE tour theme. On the same day that The Rolling Stones’ 15-city North American tour kicks off in San Diego, over 300,000 race fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and millions following the action on TV worldwide, will be captivated by the No. 25 entry driven by internationally accomplished British driver Justin Wilson.
Read More
Marco Andretti
 
Marco: 'I Want To Get It Done in the Worst Way'
Marco is 28 and, much like his family dinner companions, has had so many close calls at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was second in his Indy 500 debut in 2006, losing the lead to Sam Hornish Jr. about 450 feet from the finish line. The youngest Andretti has been third three times, in 2008, 2010 and again last year, as well as fourth in 2013.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,932
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
Check it out! IMS, @INDYCAR and @SnapChat will partner for the #Indy500 live story tomorrow: http://t.co/sCf6rMqsLV
about 32 minutes ago