CONCORD, N.C. – After making history by winning a seventh NASCAR Cup Series championship, tying NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt in the process, Jimmie Johnson was asked how the accomplishment affected the amount of pressure on him and the No. 48 team.
Did it alleviate the pressure, knowing that he had tied the all-time leaders? Or did it ratchet it up another notch, as he is now one more championship away from a number never reached in the history of the Cup Series?
“I’m really content with where I’m at and happy with where I’m at,” Johnson explained. “Truthfully, I’ve felt like there hasn’t been a lot of pressure on me through six and seven because I never even thought I’d have one to start with. When we won the five in a row and then lost that sixth, there was a weight taken off me.”
The driver said he is certainly racing for more wins and championships and that the lack of pressure is due in part to the crew chief he has atop his pit box: Chad Knaus.
“With Chad Knaus running your race team,” Johnson said, “you’re in good shape and I know that starting my 16th season, but I’m trying really hard to not let that pressure be on me.”
Johnson’s goal is to balance all of his responsibilities, from being a driver, to a leader within Hendrick Motorsports, to a member of the Drivers Council, to being a husband and a father.
“I want to balance life from professional or personal life and the pressure of a professional life can really affect your personal life,” Johnson said. “So, it’s there. It shows up if you want it or not. I’m just trying to manage it and have a good time through it all.”