In a world that often celebrates professional athletes who aren't even good role models, it’s great to see a class act like Jimmie Johnson win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. This is Jimmie’s sixth victory. His five year reign was followed by a sixth place and a third place in the overall championship. His comeback to the top of the podium was secured by his ninth place finish yesterday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
I don’t know Jimmie Johnson personally. I have seen him interviewed on television after good fortune and also bad. When he was happy it showed, when he was angry he showed restraint. He didn’t whine and complain, and he also never ranted or behaved badly. He is a champion, and always conducted himself like one.
Personally this past year I have had the opportunity to photograph Jimmie at two NASCAR venues. Pocono and Dover. I have been close enough to hear him in conversations with fans, colleagues, officials, and V.I.P.’s. He treated everyone he met with respect and kindness. I watched him bend down to talk to a child; I saw him take the extra moment for an autograph; I watched him greet people with a smile and a handshake. I saw the respect he has for his competitors.
He has the heart of a champion. Congratulations Jimmie Johnson