By: Ashley McCubbin
Seven Championships, 83 career NASCAR Cup Series victories, and a NASCAR Xfinity Series win, along with setting records at various tracks across the tour such as 11 wins at Dover International Speedway. All of the success he was able to have, even dating back to his ASA Late Model days, came in Chevrolets, which is something that the manufacture is very proud about.
“Jimmie is an incredible representative on the track and off the track. He’s just a first‑class guy. He represents our brand so very well, and he’s helped us do product introductions,” Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of performance and motorsports for Chevrolet, said. “As one example we featured Jimmie in a commercial that described the first time he brought his daughter home in his Chevrolet Tahoe, and it was a real moment and he recounted it.
“He’s just represented our brand so well. He’s done so many meetings with our employees, he’s been to our plants, done dealer meetings, and he’s just an incredible guy, first‑class all the way. Also he does so many great things off the track for others.
“We’re going to miss him here, but I’m optimistic that Jimmie Johnson is going to‑‑ obviously he’s going to INDYCAR, but I expect he’s going to be dabbling in other race series, as well. I hope to see him again.”
Through the years, Campbell has treasured each of the visits that Johnson made to their big dealer meetings, but feels the biggest moment that stands out was securing the seventh championship in 2016.
“That was a challenging, difficult race,” Campbell told POPULAR SPEED. “He got an opportunity, he seized on it, and he put the seventh championship on the board. I just remember that moment and the celebration that took place after. That was a very special moment. I remember the team just celebrating in a big way. I remember him jumping into his crew’s arms. Seven championships, it’s just an incredible accomplishment. So that one was probably one of my favorites.
“But there’s a lot of things that he’s done with us away from the racetrack that have been very special, as well, with our employees and our dealers.”
While the championship and celebration that followed for Chase Elliott was big for them, Johnson also ended his time on a solid note as he finished fifth in the Season Finale 500, the best of those not part of the Championship 4.
“I didn’t realize that was the case,” Johnson admitted post-race. “And Evie told me that on pit lane. She said, ‘Daddy, I think you won.’ She said, ‘No, the first four cars were in the championship and you beat everybody else.’ She brought it to my attention and had her own version of my winning, which I appreciated.
“Just a good competitive day. I could see the 11 (Denny Hamlin) up there and was slowly catching him but just kind of ran out of laps. It was nice to keep my eyes forward and have a great car and race that hard all day long.”