Johnson Captures NASCAR Title For Fifth Time

Crest native Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR Spring Cup Series championship this weekend for the fifth season running.

Johnson became the third driver to overcome a points deficit in the last race of the season since 1975, reports the Associated Press. He was also the first driver in the brief seven-year history of the Chase Sprint Cup to overcome a large points deficit to become the five-time winner.

As he crossed the finish line, Johnson abandoned his normally cool demeanor and began pumping his fists in the car while repeatedly screaming, "This is unbelievable!"

"I've always told you the first championship, the first win, that stuff has meant the most to me," Johnson said. "This one, I think this takes the lead. We were stronger in the previous two Chases, at least, but this one, I am just so proud."

Johnson is now a record holder in the ranks of Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, who are both seven-time champions.

"I think this year we showed what this team is made of," Johnson said. "At times this season we didn't have the most speed, but we had the most heart."

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The NASCAR driver, who mostly grew up in El Cajon, dreamed of racing when he was a student at Crest Elementary School. After last year's win, Johnson visited the school to announce the distributions of thousands of dollars from the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.   

When the floor was opened up to students, the first question asked was about his grades. Johnson laughed and then deferred to his former teacher who called him a "goal setter" in grade school.

"Be kids every second you can," he told the students.

Johnson and his wife Chandra also welcomed their first child this year. Genevieve Marie Johnson was born in July.

Selected Reading: AP, Sports Illustrated, USA Today

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