Dec 7, 2013, 3:30 PM EST
Jimmie Johnson accepted his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at the season-ending Awards Ceremony with humility, class and thanks for his predecessors and the people around him that push him to be better.
In opening, Johnson tried to draw off his peers with at least that many titles, the pair of legendary seven-time champions Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt. Unfortunately for Johnson, Petty’s wasn’t televised, and Earnhardt’s “didn’t have much there,” because “he was as nervous as the rest of us on this stage.”
From there, the usual expressions of thanks to the Hendrick Motorsports organization, crew led by crew chief Chad Knaus, all sponsors and partners and to Chevrolet were part of his seven-minute long address.
“These people have all molded me into the person and driver I am today,” Johnson admitted. “That includes all the drivers that I’ve worn out asking questions. Teammates, family and friends.”
But where Johnson’s emotion shone through came toward the end of the speech, in thanks to his wife Chandra and family for their support during the season. Prior to the Richmond regular season finale, Johnson’s second daughter Lydia was born, joining older daughter Genevieve.
“This year was clearly a huge year on track, but personally it was so much more,” he said. “Genevieve is now 3 and a half, and Lydia was born a week before the Chase started. Being a parent is the best thing.
“We had a lot going on the last 10 weeks. The glue that kept it all together is my wife Channy. I couldn’t have done without you, but don’t get teary eyed and make me get teary eyed please!”
Johnson closed with a quote from the late Nelson Mandela, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 95.
“It’s from the late Nelson Mandela in 2006: Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. The power to unite people in a way little else does,” he said.
Johnson’s a powerful force on track, but he also carries the humility and class you want from a champion. A fitting touch to the end of the year, really.
You can see Johnson’s speech and the rest of the top 10 from last night’s banquet in this link from NASCAR.com.
- Driver, team owner and now actor: Tony Stewart’s first edition of ‘Smoke is The Bandit’ is released (video) 0
- Chrysler orders nearly 100 pristine Dodge Vipers destroyed 5
- Williams launches new livery, confirms Martini partnership 3
- F1 on NBC Sports TV, streaming schedule for 2014 Australian Grand Prix 4
- Report: F1 apparently headed for Azerbaijan in 2015 or 2016 5
- Instead of significant improvement, 2014 starting off the way 2013 ended for Danica Patrick (10)
- Kurt Busch gives IndyCar chance to show they’ve learned lesson on promotion (10)
- Alonso discovers an F1 take on Ellen’s Oscar “Selfie” (6)
- UPDATED: FIA decision on Haas, new F1 teams delayed (5)
- BHA announces The Collection Auto Group and Castrol as sponsors; driver TBD (5)