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Jimmie Johnson, 2008 NASCAR Champion

Jimmie Johnson is an icon of the new generation of car racers drawing new fans to the sport. Born in 1975, in El Cajon, California, Jimmie began his racing career at the age of 5, racing motorcycles—winning the 60cc class when he was eight years old. Eventually, he competed in several off-road leagues like SODA, SCORE International and the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group. Jimmie tallied more than 25 wins and was named Rookie of the Year in all three leagues.

In 1998, he joined the NASCAR Busch Series. By 2000, Johnson was Rookie of the Year with Herzog Motorsports. In 2002, he began racing as a NASCAR Cup Series driver and went on to win three races in his rookie year, the only rookie to accomplish this feat. Starting slowly at the beginning of 2004, Jimmie won three races: the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Pocono 500. He finished off the season with wins at the UAW-GM Quality 500 and the Subway 500.

The next year saw an explosive start for Jimmie, as he won the Daytona 500 and got five more racing victories. In 2006, along with his racing wins, Jimmie launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation to help children and families in need.

In 2007, Jimmie Johnson won ten regular season NASCAR races, including four straight in a row, making him the first driver since Jeff Gordon to accomplish the feat.

Although his crew chief, Chad Knaus has been criticized for piling up penalty points by doing modifications to Jimmie’s racing car to “push the envelope”, Jimmie remained unfazed, even with Hendrick Motorsports accumulating the most penalties for any team since 2002.

Jimmie Johnson still is one of the biggest draw for racing fans, both young and old, not only for his team’s daredevil, all-out efforts to win but also for his admirable charitable work supporting children in need.

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