Born and raised in El Cajon, Johnson is a five-time Sprint Cup Champion who has been racing since he was five years old.
Sports Illustrated followed Johnson and the rest of the No. 48 NASCAR team in the three days leading up to Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway for the cover story.
Speaking on the race, Johnson said, “This is our time of the year, and I just can’t wait to get out there and flex some muscle.”
This issue marks the second time Johnson has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. His last appearance was in 2008.