CONCORD, N.C. – Jimmie Johnson hit a birthday milestone Thursday, turning 45 years old. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has earned 10 of his 83 points-paying victories in his birthday month – roughly 12% of his wins.
After 2004, the playoff format was implemented, making winning in September more crucial. Johnson won seven total September races during the seasons where he earned a championship. Overall, five of the 10 races were won at Dover International Speedway.
To celebrate Johnson’s birthday and his accomplishments, take a look at his race-winning performances in September.
Sept. 22, 2002 – Dover International Speedway
The first September win of Johnson’s Cup Series career came in his first season in the highest level of NASCAR competition. Johnson started in 19th and battled his way to the front of the pack, leading four times during the race. He lost the lead for one lap later in the race before leading the final 80 laps and bringing home his third victory of the season.
Sept. 14, 2003 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Johnson was in front for only 12 laps in this race, but he made it count. He led the final seven laps of the race after a strategic pit stop and earned his third victory of the season and sixth overall Cup Series race.
Sept. 25, 2005 – Dover International Speedway
Johnson was back in victory lane at Dover in September, this time under the new playoff format. The driver of the No. 48 battled his teammate Kyle Busch at the end of the race for the lead, but Johnson prevailed.
Sept. 2, 2007 – California Speedway (now Auto Club Speedway)
Johnson battled both Kyle and Kurt Busch from qualifying to the end of the race at his hometown track. Kurt Busch edged out Johnson by .001 seconds to earn the pole position and his brother, Kyle, dominated the majority of the race. However, Johnson made a charge for the lead in the latter half of the race and led the final 22 laps to victory.
Sept. 8, 2007 – Richmond Raceway
Just one week after Johnson won in Fontana, California, he did it again at Richmond. He earned his 10th career pole after he qualified first with teammates Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch starting in second and third, respectively. Johnson dominated the event, leading for 104 laps. The two 2007 September wins set up Johnson to win his second NASCAR Cup Series championship in a row.
Sept. 7, 2008 – Richmond Raceway
Almost a year to the day after Johnson won the 2007 playoff race at Richmond, he was back in victory lane at the Virginia track. The field had to wait an extra day to race due to Hurricane Hanna bringing rain. Johnson already had a spot clinched in the playoffs but capitalized on his 2008 season by winning at Richmond. David Reutimann dominated the race and led 268 laps, but a braking problem allowed Johnson to take the lead. He held off Tony Stewart in the final nine laps to win by .365 seconds.
Sept. 28, 2008 – Kansas Speedway
Three weeks after his 2008 Richmond win, Johnson took home another checkered flag. The driver of the No. 48 was awarded the pole position, but it was a hard-fought battle to reel in the win. Johnson held off Carl Edwards in the final laps of the event after Edwards charged Johnson on Turn 3. Edwards was ahead, but he got loose and hit the wall. Johnson drove past Edwards and won the race by two car lengths. He went on to secure his third title in a row at the end of this season.
Sept. 27, 2009 – Dover International Speedway
Johnson earned his fourth win and first playoff victory of the 2009 season at Dover. He qualified for the pole and led for the first 27 laps of the 400-lap event, but soon fell down the leaderboard. However, after a massive accident caused a red flag to be dropped, Johnson reclaimed the lead and he was out front for the final 225 laps. Once again, Johnson was the Cup Series champion at the end of the season.
Sept. 26, 2010 – Dover International Speedway
Johnson’s Dover dominance continued one year later when he won the second race of the 2010 playoffs. Once again, Johnson started in the pole position and led for the first 13 laps. He didn’t retake the lead until the middle of the race but lost it again after 24 laps. Johnson became a force to be reckoned with in the final 62 laps, leading 59 of them. The win put Johnson in second in the Cup Series playoff standings.
He eventually claimed an unprecedented fifth championship in a row.
Sept. 29, 2013 – Dover International Speedway
Once again, Johnson proved he was the master of the “Monster Mile” with his fifth September win at Dover. He qualified for eighth and worked his way through the field until he was leading on lap 120. Johnson jockeyed in and out of the lead throughout the middle part of the event, but it was pit strategy that set him up for victory. After a caution was dropped on lap 371, Johnson headed to pit road and took just two tires. He restarted in first and held on to win the race. It was his fifth win in 2013 and eighth overall Dover victory. Johnson took him his sixth championship that season.