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He’s got the chance to surpass some of the greatest names in NASCAR. Names like Petty and Earnhardt.

When reporters this week in Chicago asked Jimmie Johnson about becoming the greatest NASCAR driver of all time, he played it like the pro he is. He was straightforward and honest and said these two words:

“I do.”

Johnson has won seven NASCAR Cup Series Championships, tying him with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Winning an 8th this year puts him alone at the top of a pretty impressive list. Rare air indeed.


The Charlotte Observer spent time with Johnson earlier this week at his new restaurant Southbound, where he admitted the feat has been on his mind, but not the motivation.

“That was never my goal though,” he said. “I just wanted to race. Sure, I’d love to accomplish these things, but I spend more time worrying about doing a good job than I do about what happens if I do a good job. To have it turn into what it has has blown my mind.”

Johnson won his first series title back in 2006, then went on a tear of winning it for 5 years in a row. Unprecendented. That alone put him into the elite of NASCAR, but then he did it twice more in 2013 and 2016.

Johnson is 5th in the standings heading into the postseason. Asked if he has another one of his incredible runs left in the tank, his reply: “Fall is here,” Johnson said. “Fall is my time to get hot.”

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