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Jimmie Johnson rubbishes “athlete” dig in style

Nov 18, 2013, 2:45 PM EDT

Ford EcoBoost 400 Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson finally took time Sunday night at Homestead to dismiss what was a fairly outrageous, out-of-line claim by ex-Philadelphia Eagles NFL QB Donovan McNabb that Johnson wasn’t an athlete.

“Yes, I am an athlete, and so is every driver in one of these racecars.  Even Tony Stewart,” he deadpanned after winning his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

McNabb made the claim on a FOX studio show prior to the weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale and immediately heard from the NASCAR nation on Twitter.

And Sunday night in Homestead provided a perfect response from Johnson and the two closest people around him in his NASCAR career, team boss Rick Hendrick and crew chief Chad Knaus.

Said Hendrick, “I heard McNabb say he wasn’t an athlete.  I’d like to see McNabb come run the Boston Marathon with him or swim the lake out here.  Guys like that don’t know what they’re talking about.  He wouldn’t have been Athlete of the Year if people didn’t know what kind of unbelievable athlete he is.”

Added Knaus, “I owe a lot of my change in attitude to Jimmie because he’s opened my eyes. You have to realize, I’ve lived my whole life in these damn circles.  Middle of the racetrack, that’s where I live. You see the circle, put me in the middle of it, that’s where I’ve been for 30 years of my life.  Jimmie has made me realize there’s more to it than just that. He’s opened my eyes to a lot of things.  I love him like a brother.  He’s pretty special to me.  He’s a cool dude.”

  1. tampabayirish - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    Yet another desperate cry for attention by Donovan McNabb.

    • papaw9446 - Nov 20, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      Did McNabb ever win 7 super bowls? That takes only 17 2-hour games to garner a championship.. Johnson’s title comes after more than 30 4 -6 hour games (races) where he is intently physically and mentally involved every second of the game. He doesn’t get to rest on the sidelines for about half of the game. If McNabb had accomplished for his sport even 1/4 of what Johnson has done for his, then he might be able to speak. But as a has-been QB who struggled and often lost his mental concentration and has fumbled more than he succeeded, He needs to keep his mouth shut. I am an avid football fan and an avid race fan, and Johnson is NOT my favorite driver, but this IS what it is.

  2. Jeff - Nov 18, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    It definitely takes athletic skills to drive a race car.

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