Childhood & Early Life
Jimmie Kenneth Johnson was born on September 17, 1975, in El Cajon, California, U.S.A., to Catherine Ellen (nee, Dunnill) and Gary Ernest Johnson.
He grew up with two brothers, Jarit and Jessie.
He started racing motorcycles in 1980, when he was 4. In 1983, he won the '60cc Class Championship' with an injured knee. He later participated and won many awards in the events sanctioned by the 'Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group’ (MTEG).
He graduated from the 'Granite Hills High School' in 1993. Back then, he raced motorcycles on weekends.
He represented the university in swimming, diving, and water polo.
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By 1993, he had already established himself as a formidable race-car driver and had raced trucks and buggies in the desert and off-road stadium races. He also began reporting for 'ESPN' in the 'Short Course Off-Road Drivers Association’ (SODA).
In 1996, he began driving for 'Herzog Motorsports' in the off-road truck series. By the following year, he had moved ahead to ‘SODA's ‘Class 8.’
Before he entered the 'American Speed Association’ (ASA) in 1998, he garnered more than 25 victories, 100 top-three finishes, six championships, and 'Rookie of the Year Awards' in three leagues, namely, 'SODA,' SCORE,' and 'MTEG.'
After entering the ‘ASA,’ he began racing on asphalt and was named the “ASA Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie.” The following year, he ranked third in the series.
In 1998, Johnson began to race part-time in the 'NASCAR Busch Series,' presently known as the 'NASCAR Xfinity Series.' His records in the series, however, were not too noteworthy. By 2001, he drove for three teams, 'ST Motorsports,' the 'Curb Agajanian Performance Group,' and 'Herzog Motorsports.' Of these, his longest association had been with 'Herzog Motorsports,' until he started driving the ‘No. 48 Chevrolet’ for 'Hendrick Motorsports' in 2001.
In the 2001 season, he made his “Cup” debut in the 'UAW-GM Quality 500' at the ‘Charlotte Motor Speedway,’ Concord, North Carolina, U.S.A.
He began his illustrious full-time career with ‘NASCAR’ in the 2002 season. He became the third rookie to earn the pole position for the 'Daytona 500,' the same year. He closed the season at the fifth spot in the overall ranking, but failed to win the 'Rookie of the Year Award.'
In 2003, he raced to the second spot in the final standing. The same year, he won the ‘NASCAR All-Star Race.' He ranked third in the 'International Race of Champions,' the same year.
The following season, he was placed second, and in the 'International Race of Champions,' he obtained the fourth spot. As the 2005 season ended, he was placed fifth in the points tally.
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The year 2006 witnessed the start of Johnson's record-breaking performance. He began by winning at ‘Daytona 500.’ As the season ended, he finished with one pole position, recording 13 top-five and 24 top-ten finishes, and eventually earning his first championship. In December that year, he was named the “Driver of the Year” by 'Martini & Rossi.' The same year, he also won the 'NASCAR All-Star Race,' for the second time.
The following season, he won his championship by recording 10 victories and 4 pole positions, marking 20 top-five and 24 top-ten (like the last season) finishes.
By winning the 2008 season, he became the second driver to win 3 championships in a row. He recorded 7 victories and 6 poles, along with 15 top-five and 22 top-ten finishes. He was able to convert 5 of his poles to wins.
In 2009, he created history by becoming the first driver to win 4 championships consecutively.
In 2010, he set a seemingly impossible and unassailable record by successively becoming the champion for the fifth time.
The year 2011 was not good for him statistically. Though he was finally placed at the sixth position, he only won 2 races.
The following year, he bettered his position by three spots and also scored his third victory at the 'NASCAR All-Star Race.'
The year 2013 was an outstanding year for Johnson. That year, not only did he regain his winning ways by acing the championship for the sixth time, but he also won the 'NASCAR All-Star Race' for the fourth time. While he became the third driver to achieve the former feat, he was the first driver to accomplish the latter.
The years 2014 and 2015 were his worst seasons till then. He finished 11th and 10th in the respective seasons.
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He returned to form in 2016 and won the championship for the seventh time, a feat that helped him equal the records of ‘NASCAR’ legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
His performances went from bad to worse in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons, with him finishing at the 10th, 14th, and 18th positions, respectively. On November 20, 2019, he announced that he would be retiring after the next season. His results in the 2020 season were hugely interrupted by COVID. Nevertheless, he finished third after a strong performance.
Family & Personal Life
Johnson met Chandra Janway in 2002. They got married in 2004. They have two daughters, Genevieve and Lydia.
He stays with his family in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A. He has another home in New York City, U.S.A.
Johnson regularly participates in triathlons and marathons. He is also interested in art and photography.
Through his charity, the 'Jimmie Johnson Foundation,' launched by him and Chandra in 2006, he supports and promotes health, fitness, education, and disaster relief.
In 2004, Johnson started participating in the 'Rolex Sports Car Series,' organized by the 'Grand American Road Racing Association.'
He has driven for the teams ‘Howard-Boss Motorsports’ (2004 and 2005), 'Riley-Matthews Motorsports’ (2007), and 'Bob Stallings Racing’ (2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011) in different seasons.
He has also appeared in films, TV programs, documentaries, music videos, and video games.
He was featured on the covers of magazines such as 'Sports Illustrated,' 'NASCAR Illustrated,' 'Success,' and 'Men's Fitness.'