June 17 will now be Jimmie Johnson Day in El Cajon in honor of the six-time NASCAR champion.
Mayor Bill Wells as well as city councilors and Senator Joel Anderson bestowed the honor Tuesday to Johnson, a native of El Cajon, in a public celebration.
The response was fitting for a champion. Dozens gathered to snap photos of Johnson’s No. 48 show car on display at Centennial Plaza. Hero cards of the local star also were available to fans.
In El Cajon, Johnson is known as much for his philanthropic support as his successful racing career. He’s given more than $6.5 million to schools in El Cajon and throughout the United States.
Fans who turned out for Johnson’s celebration said the honor was a long time coming.
“He's a good guy. A really good guy,” said Johnson fan Paulette Sauln. "He doesn't forget where he came from. When he's here, he says 'hello.'"
“He’s a good person,” echoed El Cajon resident Grant Hodge. “He should be honored.”
Johnson won his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in 2013 and, at 38, is the youngest driver to win that many titles.
Just in the last four weeks, Johnson won three of his last four races: the Autism Speaks 400, the Coca Cola 600 and the Quicken Loans 400 in Michigan on Sunday.