BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
Every sport can make a case as to which athlete is The Greatest Of All Time (GOAT).
The NASCAR Series can make a case for Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Another driver that you can easily make a case for is 47-year old Jimmie Johnson.
The native of El Cajon, California, has won 83 races, has 3744 Top Tens and 36 Poles in his NASCAR Cup Series career. He has run 686 races in 20 years and is a seven-time NASCAR Cup Champion. He has won the Daytona 500, four times.
He’s also competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Johnson ran 25 races in two years in the IndyCar Series.
If there was ever a driver that liked to compete with lots of different competition ranging from ovals and road courses, it’s Johnson as a few years ago, he took a crack at the 12-Hours of Sebring.
It was interesting to see him compete on a demanding track such as Sebring.
During the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, Johnson addressed us about his future racing plans.
I did manage to get a pair of questions and I will share them and his responses with you.
Q: When it’s all said and done, do you want to feel like you’ve accomplished everything that you can on the Motor Sports Stage, where you left nothing undone?
A: Yeah, I think that is buried in my mind somewhere. More than anything, I just want to drive race cars. I think the last couple years I’ve proven that or I’ve even showed that, I should say, and an opportunity like this is once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s the last thing on my bucket list, as well, my own personal list that I’ve had through the years, is to go to LeMans. But I also feel like my involvement now with Legacy Motor Club and my future in the sport itself, I’m not done. I love motorsport far and wide and really look forward to the years that I have a head of myself. I think there are less years of driving the car and holding the steering wheel and more outside of, but really excited for the challenges ahead.
Q: The thought of driving in a 24-hour race, is that something that—how do you approach that knowing that this is one heck of a challenge and it’s on that list of things that you’re looking to accomplish?
A: I have enjoyed the races I’ve had here at the Rolex 24 and can only imagine what it will be like in France. As an endurance sports athlete, doing triathlons and marathons and such, I just love that kind of challenge. I’ve always left a 24-hour race here just exhausted physically and mentally with a smile on my face. I really do enjoy the challenge.
Little did Johnson know that I was covering my first 24-hour race in my 43-year Sports Media Career.
I’ve covered the 12-Hours of Sebring a couple of times.
But this is a guy that is simply a “Racer” not a “Driver” and his competitive desire to keep on going at a high level is truly amazing. More importantly, he’s an even better person.
You can watch the entire press conference in this story and see all of what Jimmie and the rest of what was said from the individuals that spoke to us.
It will truly be worth the watch.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.
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