CONCORD, N.C. -- It takes a dedicated group of individuals to work for a team in the motor sports world. From public relations to engineering to assembling the cars, an employee at Hendrick Motorsports is always kept on their toes.
Here we explore the ins and outs of what it takes to work in motor sports as we dive into our new series, “Fueling Futures.” An initiative started by Hendrick Motorsports partner Ally, “Fueling Futures” was created in 2019 to help middle and high school aged students learn about careers they might not realize are available.
This week, we get to know seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. A native of El Cajon, California, Johnson got his start in the motor sports world as a young kid racing dirt bikes. In 2002, he started his first full-time season as a Cup Series driver and has gone on to earn seven titles, win 83 races, finish inside the top five 231 times and secure 373 top-10 results - all for Hendrick Motorsports.
Hendrick Motorsports: What does your job entail?
Jimmie Johnson: My job is to drive in circles as fast as I possibly can.
HM: How did your education and background lead you to Hendrick Motorsports?
JJ: It’s been a long and interesting journey for me to end up where I sit today as the driver of the No. 48 Ally race car. I had to make some big decisions at a young age. Once I finished up high school and received my diploma, I really decided to chase my dream of being a race car driver and chased it all around the country. I’ve lived in many different cities and states and really just embedded myself within this industry and let my passion and desire and love for this sport kind of show through. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot of very important life lessons. (I) kind of mashed that all up. Twenty-something years later and you end up where I am sitting here today.
HM: For someone who is looking to break into the industry in a role like yours, what skills must they have?
JJ: To excel in my role, someone must have thick skin. It’s a long journey with more downs than ups along the way.
HM: What advice would you give to those in high school who are interested in a career like yours?
JJ: My advice to kids that want to pursue racing is to really be in love with the sport and the industry. That’s really what has carried me through the majority of the down times that have taken place. I’m very fortunate to have experienced the highest of highs, but my love for this sport really is what’s gotten me through it all.
HM: Lastly, what is your favorite part of your job?
JJ: My favorite part of my job is winning.