Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Jimmie Johnson by Bill Fleischman (Book Review #13 of 2017)


Jimmie Johnson by Bill Fleischman
This small book was published in 2006 as part of the Race Car Legends series, but was mostly written in 2004 since it does not contain Jimmie's first title in 2005 (except an updated chart in the back). It is a decent summary of articles on Johnson and interviews with the author over his early NASCAR career. I started following NASCAR and became a #48 fan in the 2006 season.

The book is a good reminder that before Jimmie won his first of six consecutive titles in 2005 he finished runner-up in 2004. He was so close to having seven consecutive, and eight overall. There was information on Jimmie's early career that I didn't know much about. His parents supported his racing career, first on dirk bikes, so long as he maintained a B average. There is a story about a time in 1995 when Jimmie was competing in a 1,000 mile baja desert endurance truck race, one that could go 24-48 hours. Jimmie fell asleep at the wheel and crashed, destroyed the vehicle, and knocked his co-driver unconscious. He apparently spent a day hanging out with Spanish-speaking spectators until he could be rescued. I had not heard this story, but I found a slightly different version of it on this website that better chronicles his brief desert truck-racing career. (The website article says Jimmie was dominating the race at the time of the crash.)

I found it interesting that at some point in the 2004 season Jimmie briefly held the status of being considered a dirty driver, now he's considered all-class. Through his wreck in Baja to coming up through the ranks to seven championships and an active Iron Man/biker/skiier the book is a reminder of how much Jimmie has grown and matured. 3 stars.

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