View Full Version : Johnson 1st racecar driver to Win AP Athelete Of the Year

12-21-2009, 10:32 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. There was little recognition outside the racing world when Jimmie Johnson won his first NASCAR championship. Same with his second, and again with his third.

But four straight ? That's a different story. Johnson, the first driver in NASCAR history to win four consecutive titles, earned mainstream recognition Monday when he was honored as the Male Athlete of the Year by members of The Associated Press.

Johnson received 42 votes from editors at U.S. newspapers which are members of the AP. Tennis star Roger Federer (30 votes) and Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt (29) were the only other athletes with totals in the double digits.

Although Tiger Woods was named Athlete of the Decade, the golfer received only nine votes for Athlete of the Year, tied with NBA star Kobe Bryant and slugger Albert Pujols in fourth place .

For Johnson, the first race car driver to be named the AP's Athlete of the Year in its 78-year history, the award is the validation he's been waiting for since he began his historic run in 2006.

"We'd been wondering the last few years, 'When is this going to hit?' " he said. "It seems like the answer is now. The fourth straight title takes it out of our sport and makes it a point of discussion like, 'Wow, a race car driver won this thing.' "

Johnson won four of his seven races this season when the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship began in September. Two-time champion Tony Stewart dominated the "regular season," but Johnson's team turned it up when the stakes were highest.

Johnson said the AP honor reinforces what he's always believed: that even though he's a driver, he's "100 percent" an athlete. "I've looked at other sports, particularly baseball, and I've seen plenty of out-of-shape, fat players," said Johnson . "So to anyone who wants to go head-to-head with me in athletic ability, let's go ."


12-24-2009, 02:10 AM
Surprising he got the nod over Rodger Federer and Usain Bolt but congratulations nonetheless.

12-24-2009, 07:55 PM

12-25-2009, 01:30 AM

01-23-2010, 05:01 AM
Glad to see him get this award. He certainly deserves it. He's not my favorite driver but nevertheless I'm glad to see him win this award.