With five Sprint Cup championships in his pocket, one could assume that Jimmie Johnson is simply driving for the fun of it these days.
But while NASCAR’s most dominant driver in the last decade is certainly still having fun, the assumption that he has nothing left to prove is an incorrect one. In his mind, he has everything to prove.
“I don’t want that to sound trite or whatever, but it’s true,” Johnson tells NBCSports.com national columnist Joe Posnanski in the latest edition of ‘The Big Read.’ “I feel like I haven’t really proven anything yet.”
Posnanski’s profile delves into Johnson’s early years, his transition from off-road racing to stock cars, the massive success that he has achieved, and how he came to grips with fans that believed – and still believe – that he’s a simple beneficiary of Hendrick Motorsports’ myriad resources.
But perhaps most striking about “Five-Time” is his relationship with fear. Even though, as Posnanski writes, he was the one known as “fearless” inside his high school circle of friends, the California native has always felt fear whenever he goes behind the wheel to do battle.
But he doesn’t want it any other way. To Johnson, fear is constant and essential.
“Every time I get into a stock car, I have fear,” Johnson says. “That’s important. That fear is what keeps you sharp and keeps you from going over the edge.”
For an intriguing look at one of NASCAR’s most decorated champions – a look that just might change your own opinion on his place within the sport – click the link above.