Hometown: El Cajon, CA
Residence: Mooresville, NC
Marital Status: Single
Favorite TV Shows: Friends, That 70's Show
Favorite Food: Mexican
Favorite Tracks: California, Dover,Chicago
Jimmie Johnson, a native of El Cajon, California, started as an off-road racer and won championships in the Mickey Thompson Stadium Championship from 1992-94. He won the ASA ACDelco Challenge Series Rookie of the Year Award in 1998 and had made less than 100 stock car starts in his career heading into the 2001 season.
Jimmie Johnson made his first three Winston Cup starts in 2001, the season in which he scored a breakthrough first NASCAR Busch Series victory in only his fourth season in stock cars while preparing to advance his career to the next level.
While he qualified an impressive 15th in his first start, at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Johnson's best finish was only 25th, at Homestead. He primarily concentrated on maintaining his top-10 standing in the Busch Series point standings.
Johnson, with a limited number of stock car starts on his resume, was the third man in the 2000 Busch Series rookie invasion, but he had an impressive enough rookie season to end it with a Hendrick Motorsports contract to compete in the Winston Cup Series in 2002. Johnson started 31 races and finished 10th in the point standings with six top-10 finishes.
Even though Johnson's consistency was what earned him his point position, with 24 top-25 finishes and an average finish of 20th, the enduring image of him from 2000 is his crash through the Styrofoam blocks at Watkins Glen after a Turn 1 brake failure. Due to the great seasons by fellow rookies Kevin Harvick and Ron Hornaday, Johnson finished only third in the rookie of the year standings.
Under car owner Jeff Gordon, Johnson's Winston Cup rookie campaign in 2002 was one of the best in recent memory. He won three times, including a season sweep at Dover. His 21 top-10 finishes tied him with 2002 champion Tony Stewart for second in the series and he led the Winston Cup standings following the Kansas race in late September.
Two finishes outside the top 30 in the final six races of the season helped take Johnson out of title contention, but he did manage to finish fifth in the final standings. He also finished second to Ryan Newman in the rookie of the year balloting.
During the 2000 season, Johnson was selected one of People Magazine's "Sexiest Men In The Fast Lane," along with various Winston Cup and Busch Series drivers.
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