CONCORD, N.C. -- No matter which sport, there is always an argument on who the “GOAT,” or “Greatest of All Time,” is. The NFL has that argument, MLB has that argument, as does the NBA.
It’s no surprise that the NASCAR faithful have their opinions, as well. But for Chase Elliott, teammate Jimmie Johnson is the sport’s very underrated “Greatest of All Time.”
“I don't think he's ever got the respect that he deserves over the course of his career,” Elliott said. “I think he's the best to have come along. I think what he's done, the amount of time he did it in, the way he did it, I just don't see how that's matched, in my personal opinion. ... I don't think he's ever got the respect he really deserves.
Johnson’s list of accomplishments is extensive. The 44-year-old driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE is a seven-time Cup Series champion, five of which were won consecutively from 2006-10. He has 83 career race wins, including two at the DAYTONA 500, 222 top-five finishes, 341 top-10 finishes and 35 pole positions.
Elliott said he thinks once Johnson retires from full-time racing at the end of the season, people will appreciate what Johnson has accomplished on the track and for the sport.
Elliott added he isn’t touting Johnson just because they’re teammates – before Elliott joined Hendrick Motorsports, he thought Johnson was the best to grace the NASCAR scene.
“He went five in a row. Like the seven thing is great, that's amazing. But five in a row? Y'all sit back and think about that. That's about as many times as I've won a race, which isn't saying much. I think about all the great drivers who won one. That's crazy. Probably won't ever happen ever again, ever.”
Elliott’s admiration for Johnson goes beyond racing. According to the 24-year-old, Johnson’s treatment of others and his actions when no one is looking round out his success.
“I think he just exemplifies how you should go about your life on and off the racetrack,” Elliott said. “I think he's a great person. He has his off-the-track life figured out. He treats people the way they deserve to be treated. He's just a class guy. I think he leads by example. I've enjoyed having somebody like that to look up to.”