Jimmie Johnson: Off Track

Jimmie Johnson: Off Track

Jimmie Johnson grew up racing motorcycles before venturing into off-road racing, where he captured 25 wins and 3 Rookie of the Year titles. Johnson then leaped to the ASA before joining the NASCAR Busch Series fulltime in 2000. Jimmie ...

Jimmie Johnson grew up racing motorcycles before venturing into off-road racing, where he captured 25 wins and 3 Rookie of the Year titles. Johnson then leaped to the ASA before joining the NASCAR Busch Series fulltime in 2000.

Jimmie Johnson.
Photo by Earl Ma.
After just two years in Busch Series, Johnson then joined one of the most prestigious NASCAR teams in 2002, as four-time series champion Jeff Gordon pegged him to run the #48 Lowe's Chevy last season.

Johnson grabbed the sports attention his first time out in NASCAR's premium division: at Daytona testing in 2002, prior to the start of the season, Johnson turned the fastest non-drafting lap and went on to sit on the pole for the Daytona 500.

He scored three wins in his maiden season and finished second in Rookie of the Year honors. This season Johnson already is lighting up the series, having won a cool million dollars at the sports all-star event, The Winston, and followed it up a week later with a victory at the Coca-Cola 600. All in all, he has won three points events this season, including a sweep of the New Hampshire races.

When Johnson's not speeding around the track at 180 mph, you can find the 27-year old California native roaming the streets of New York City, where he recently bought an apartment, or relaxing at his home on Lake Norman, NC on his Sea-Doo jet ski.

Q: I hear you got a great gift from Lowe's in your rookie season to commemorate your partnership, tell us about it.

Johnson: They announced the Lowe's sponsorship the day after my birthday and they rolled out a brand new jet ski painted up like my racecar. It was definitely a huge surprise, and they were towing it with one of the racecars - which surprised me even more!

Q: How often do you have the opportunity to get on the water and enjoy it?

Johnson: In the past I've had Sundays, but from what I understand there is not going to be much time especially if I start running well. So, I might be looking at the lake more than splashing around in it! We call it Lake Therapy and use it to wind down from a stressful racing weekend.

Q: If you decided to give up racecars are you good enough on that Jet Ski to go pro?

Johnson: Actually, I raced Jet Skis for a little while when I was younger. They were all the stand up style Jet Skis, these sit down ones are kind of like driving a boat.

Q: Growing up in Southern California your able to enjoy the ocean more than in Mooresville, do you miss it?

Johnson: Ocean-wise I surfed through high school and growing up but I've been a little scared of the ocean, sharks and all that stuff. I grew up in El Cajon, which is about 20 minutes inland. Where I lived there were a lot of lakes and the Colorado River, and that's where my parents took us to go boating and jet skiing.

Q: Given the chance to race another Winston Cup driver on a jet ski, whom would you most like to take on?

Johnson: I would have to say Jimmy Spencer, cause I'd have him beat on weight!

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmy Spencer , Jimmie Johnson