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Johnson wins Best Driver ESPY

LOS ANGELES (July 16, 2008)—Jimmie Johnson, the two-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, earned his first ESPY award on Wednesday.

The driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet was honored with the Best Driver ESPY award during the 16th annual ESPN-hosted sports award show at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. The award was determined by fans who voted online, and the competition was stiff. Johnson was competing for the fans’ votes against current points leader Kyle Busch; 2007 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti; 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon; Formula One standout Lewis Hamilton and four-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher.

“I’m so honored the fans voted for me,” Johnson told the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service. “There were so many great drivers nominated, and I’m humbled that I was chosen for the ESPY. It was definitely a team effort, and my guys are the best in the garage.”

This isn’t the first ESPY for a Hendrick Motorsports driver. Last year, Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, took home the award.

The ESPY Awards will be televised at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN.