With five Sprint Cup Championships to his credit, Jimmie Johnson has earned the right to be the spokesperson for NASCAR. However, the mild mannered champion prefers to do his talking behind the scenes.
Johnson recently addressed the media on many topics but how he goes about resolving issues in the sport is quite different from other Type A personalities in the Cup Series garage.
"Truthfully, I don't care to get a lot of recognition," said Johnson regarding his behind the scenes approach. "I don't bang my own drum. I just want our sport to be strong and healthy."
Current Champion Brad Keselowski has certainly been vocal about many subjects that NASCAR should address as he sees it but, Johnson is not so sure that a loud voice is what is needed to get things accomplished.
"I've used Jeff Gordon as a sounding board, how he's approached things and the way his voice is heard," explained Johnson on his cautious approach. "I think Brad tries hard to be that voice and wants to be that voice but, I try to step back and take it all in, understand NASCAR's point of view, the fans' point of view, and the competitors."
Johnson certainly seems to get his share of attention from NASCAR when he enters The NASCAR Hauler but, even after five championships he still feels that he has to work on his relationships in the sport.
"My comfort is still developing today," continued Johnson on his relationship with the NASCAR leadership. "I feel like I have a great relationship with them all, but time and working through issues continues to build that confidence in one another."
Johnson not only prefers to be behind the scenes in the garage area but outside the racetrack as well. His compassion for those in need often goes unnoticed and that is just fine with Jimmie.
"We have a big truck full of goods," said Johnson regarding his trip to visit the tornado victims in Oklahoma. "I'll be there with the Lowe's folks and I'm excited to go firsthand to see and help and meet and pass out what is needed."
Johnson also plans to donate his Dover race earnings to the victims as well.
"Once we get a little further down the road, we'll understand where our money can be best used and put at that point, but we'll donate those funds," said Johnson on his plans for the personal support.
Johnson is not a favorite of many race fans these days but, that comes as a result of dominating success. All of NASCAR's elite drivers have gone through that at one point in their career. Dale Earnhardt Sr., Jeff Gordon, and Rusty Wallace are but a few of the greats that have experienced the wrath of the fans.
They were all great successful drivers like Johnson but they all shared one trait in common. They preferred to do their talking on the race track but solve problems and support those in need in private.
Maybe some of the other drivers should take a few lessons.
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